Which credit cards are in my wallet right now?

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I asked you guys what you’d like to read about, so this post is in response to a question posted there. I’ll address as many of the questions as I can in the coming weeks. Feel free to keep adding to the list and I’ll use it as a basis for future posts.

Reader Bundy asked:

What credit cards are currently in your wallet and why? What cards are you planning to churn?

About seven months ago I wrote a post sharing my active credit cards, so I figured I’d provide an update. I’ll also put each card in either the “keep” or “cancel” category, based on whether I plan on keeping or canceling the card when the annual fee hits.

With that in mind, here’s what’s in my wallet right now:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (personal) – Keep
Annual fee: $95, waived first year

This one is of course a no brainer, and a card everyone should have. The card offers double points on dining and travel. That means you’re earning 2 points per dollar spent at restaurants and on just about all travel expenses, including hotel, airline tickets, car rentals, transportation, and even parking. While I can get a good return on hotels and airline tickets with other cards, it’s the dining and other travel expenses (taxis, trains, parking, etc.) that make this card awesome. Since it has no foreign transaction fees I use it when I’m traveling abroad almost exclusively.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (personal) – Keep
Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95

On a per point basis, Starwood points are probably the most valuable points currency out there. I value them at about 2.2 cents each, and they’re actually the only points currency I value at over two cents per point. So I put all my Starwood hotel stays and spend in categories that don’t earn bonuses on other cards on this card.

That being said, I’d keep the card alone for the fact that it offers two stays and five nights towards Starwood status annually. In the past I’d qualify for Starwood Platinum on 25 stays instead of 50 nights, but now I’m qualifying on nights given that you don’t get the 10 suite night awards annually if you qualify on stays. That’s basically like picking up night credits towards status at $13 each.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express (business) – Keep
Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95

I like this card for exactly the same reasons as the personal card. They both offer the same bonuses, so the one reason to have both of them is because they each offer you two stays and five nights towards status annually. Between the two cards that’s four stays and 10 nights towards status, a very nice head start each year.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® (personal) – Keep
Annual fee: $99, waived first year

Last year Citi added new benefits to this card, including a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 10,000 miles per year. I easily max that out every year (since I make at least 100,000 AAdvantage miles worth of award redemptions per year), so by keeping this card I’m basically buying 10,000 miles at $95 annually, which is 0.95 cents per mile. Deal. I don’t put a dime in spend on the card, though.

US Airways Mastercard (personal) – Keep
Annual fee: $89, waived first year

Now that the American and US Airways merger is underway I doubt this card will be around for long, given that Citi will almost certainly be the bank issuing the “new” American’s credit card. This card offers a 10,000 mile anniversary bonus just for having the card, so up until now it has been a way to essentially “buy” 10,000 US Airways miles annually for 0.89 cents each. I suspect this card will be going away shortly, but for the time being I might as well keep it.

Ink Plus® Business Credit Card and Ink Bold® Business Charge Card (business) — Keep one, cancel the other
Annual fee: $95

The Chase Ink cards are the best business cards out there at the moment, in my opinion. You get double points on the first $50,000 spent annually at hotels and gas stations, and 5x points on the first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cell phones, landlines, internet, and cable TV. The last category alone justifies the annual fee on the card, given that those are fixed monthly expenses for me, and when I add them up and calculate the 5x points I’m earning, I’m already coming out ahead.

You can actually be approved for both of these cards, though beyond the first year there’s not much benefit to keeping both of them. So I plan on canceling one of them when the annual fee hits, and keeping the other.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card (personal) — Keep
Annual fee: $95

Despite the huge Hilton HHonors devaluation on the way, I still think this is one of the very best cards out there. Just for having the card you get HHonors Gold status, which gets you free internet and club lounge access/breakfast. Even though I have top tier status with Hyatt and Starwood, they don’t have hotels everywhere I need to be, while Hilton usually does. So no matter how devalued their points program gets, you can’t beat the on-property benefits you get simply for having a $95 annual fee credit card.

Chase Hyatt Visa Card (personal) — Keep
Annual fee: $75

The only time I spend a dime on this card is for actual Hyatt stays, since you earn three points per dollar. Other than that I keep the card for the annual free night certificate, redeemable at category one through four properties. That more than justifies the annual fee, given that it can be redeemed at properties like the Andaz West Hollywood, Andaz Shanghai, Park Hyatt Melbourne, etc.

The Platinum Card® from American Express (personal) — Keep
Annual fee: $450

This card is expensive but worth every dime to me. It offers Lounge access with Delta, Priority Pass, and others. If I were to purchase a lounge membership with one of those airlines alone it would cost me about $350 per year.

But beyond that you get an annual airline fee credit for $200, which in practice can be used to purchase airline gift cards. So I’m able to purchase $200 in American Airlines gift cards per year and have it reimbursed. What sweetens the deal even further is that the annual fee is based on a rolling 12 month period, while the airline fee credit is based on a calendar year. So that means with your first year’s annual fee you can actually pick up two airline fee credits, worth $400.

The other thing that makes this card awesome is access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN Application (business) — Cancel
Annual fee: $450

Last year I applied for the The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN when they had a 50,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus (right now there is no sign-up bonus associated with the card), and as the annual fee approached I got an upgrade offer to the Business Platinum card, offering 25,000 Membership Rewards points if I upgraded. I crunched the numbers and figured it made sense to pay the $450 annual fee to upgrade, as I’d be getting both 25,000 Membership Rewards points and $400 in airline gift cards (through the airline credit reimbursement). It’s not worth renewing since I have the personal Platinum card as well, but I think it was a good deal for the upgrade.

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express — Keep or Cancel?
Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $195

I’m still a bit torn on the value of this card. It offers triple points on airfare and double points points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. If I can get a retention bonus on the card I probably won’t cancel it, but I’m not going to pay $195 to renew the card. It was great for the first year, though.

Hilton HHonors Card from American Express — Keep
Annual fee: none

This no annual fee credit card is worth keeping solely for the fact that it gives you access to Hilton’s AXON awards. Through Hilton’s AXON awards you can book any category seven property for four nights for just 145,000 points, compared to the usual rate of 50,000 points per night. That’s better than buy three get one free. That being said, with the upcoming devaluation I’m not sure what will happen to AXON awards. In the meantime the card has no annual fee, so I might as well keep it.

Cards I’m eying for my next credit card churn include:

The Mercedes Benz Platinum Card from American Express (personal)
Annual fee: $475

This card is more or less identical to the American Express Platinum Card except the annual fee is $25 higher and the sign-up bonus is double as big. So if you’re only going to get either the Platinum Card or Mercedes Benz Platinum Card you should get the latter due to the higher sign-up bonus. Apparently you can get both cards at once, so I figured I might as well pick this card up for the 50,000 point sign-up bonus and $400 worth of airline fee credits, essentially bringing down the first year’s fee to $75.

Chase Freedom® (personal)
Annual fee: none

Chase seems to have all the good offers, so most of the time I’m just trying to “pace” myself in not applying for too many offers with them at once. This is an awesome card since it offers 5x points in rotating categories for up to $1,500 in spend every quarter and doesn’t have an annual fee. That’s an easy way to pick up 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points per year.

IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card (personal)
Annual fee: $49, waived first year

The card offers an awesome anniversary bonus of one free night at any IHG property annually. For a $49 annual fee that’s an amazing value. The issue is that much like the other great cards out there this one is issued by Chase, and you can’t really have a dozen of their cards open at once.

Alaska Airlines Visa Card (personal)
Annual fee: $75

The sign-up bonus on the card is presently 25,000 miles upon approval. I’m hoping for a better bonus, though will otherwise probably pull the trigger on it as this card is supposedly churnable. I’m trying to rack up some Alaska miles either for travel on Emirates or Cathay Pacific.

Anyway, that’s a summary of the cards I have and the ones I’m eying. Any good cards I should be applying for that aren’t listed above? Which cards are on your list?

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  1. @ Jamison — The highest bonus I ever saw on the Freedom was 30K points. Doubt we’ll ever see a 50K bonus, though would be nice to at least see something a bit higher.

  2. Thanks, those posts are always helpful! Be careful with the MB Platinum card application; they may let you get it in addition to the standard Platinum card, but I don’t think they let you earn the bonus miles if you are already have a Platinum card.

  3. Get the Priority Club card soon. It will become a Mastercard soon so there is the potential to get the signup bonus a second time.

  4. @Chad M: The T&C for the MB Platinum don’t say anything about not getting the bonus if holding another Membership Rewards card, so I don’t see why you wouldn’t get the bonus. There are reports on FT from those who’ve gotten the MB bonus even with having having the regular Plat at the time they applied.

  5. @ jon — Not at all, quite the opposite. Only a small portion of your credit score is made up of the number of inquiries, while a much larger portion of your score is the percent of credit you’re utilizing and the age of your accounts. So it can actually help your score, as I explained in this post:

    At least I apply for about a dozen cards a year and my credit score is excellent.

  6. So combining all the keepers, that is a whooping $1,114 annual fee. My wifey will shoot me without a second thought, if I were in your shoes.

  7. Ben,

    I currently have 3 Chase personal cards, and 1 biz card, but I’d like to get the Priority Club card for the 80,000 point bonus. From your experience, does Chase allow one to have 4 personal cards? Out of all the Chase cards I have, the only one I would think about giving up is the MileagePlus Explorer card? What do you think about that one?

  8. Is the Starwood Business AMEX still offering 2stays / 5 nights. Its not mentioned on the page if you click through?

  9. @ Coutureguy — Chase seems have different “rules” for everyone, though I know plenty of people with four personal Chase cards, especially if you’re willing to allocate some of your credit line from another card to the new card.

    The MileagePlus Explorer card can have a good sign-up bonus, though agree there’s not much benefit to keeping the card long term, so I’d by all means “trade” it in.

  10. Any guess as to what will happen to the US Airways card when it “goes away? Do you think Barclays will just convert cardmembers to some type of “unbranded” card?

  11. @ Jorge — They apply to any booking made directly through Hilton, whether it’s discounted or an award stay. Sometimes they’ll even honor it on Priceline stays.

  12. @ LincolnPark — That’s a great question. Not something we faced with United/Continental since they had the same issuer. I suspect we’ll be given the option between closing down the account and converting to another one of their products, though how that process will actually work, I’m not sure.

  13. @gb and @Mitch, you guys are right =) There is nothing on the MB application page about the welcome bonus in relation to an existing product. I was thinking of the regular AMEX Platinum application, which limits you if you’ve held certain other consumer AMEX cards recently.

  14. @ Grant — I think both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Bold/Plus are better than the Chase Freedom in and of themselves, though the Freedom is a very nice complement to them as it’s an easy extra 30K points per year.

  15. I haven’t found Chase UR points to be all that useful. With my 150k UR points, I tried to get a hotel in London near a specific location. One great hotel wasn’t available using UR points, and other hotels were too many points per night for my mere 150k balance. This was for an off-peak booking.

    For hotels, the ability to transfer UR to Hyatt (which you turned me on to) is certainly the best bet, but they’re not that big of a chain.

    Finally, have you ever tried booking a hotel via points through the UR portal? It is the worst hotel search interface I’ve ever seen. You can specify “nearby landmarks” but not “near an addresses”. The filtering options are really rudimentary and the interface is clumsy at best. Try it for some big city and you’ll see what I mean.

  16. Great writeup, but would be helpful to have a proviso at the top regarding your everyday spend. That is, putting aside spend to get the intro bonus, and not counting spending in special categories (i.e. dining, travel) – which card do you pull out of your wallet for everyday spend??

    I gather it would be SPG Amex or Chase Sapphire.

    I have a huge amount of non-bonus category “miscellaneous” everyday spend so this question is important – and I rarely see it addressed on the blogs.

  17. I just cancelled my Sapphire Preferred Visa earlier this month. By using Ink Plus (without foreign transaction fee), I can virtually earn 5 (or 4) UR points/$ spent (on stuff without need of extended warranty) in the US and Canada. And I might apply for Sapphire Preferred Mastercard later if offer of big signup bonus appears.

  18. @Boraxo, it depends what type of points/miles you want. SPG is a great card because you can use it for hotel stays or transfer miles to many airlines. Otherwise, a 2% cash back card might be your best bet.

  19. I was told by Barclays that the 10K miles bonus was ONLY for the 1st renewal of the US Airways card. Anyone have a different experiece? Thanks for any response — Rich

  20. @ Tech Trainer — In some instances you’re absolutely right that Ultimate Rewards points aren’t valuable. The two best uses of them are Hyatt and United. Hyatt is lacking in terms of their properties in London, and United obviously isn’t helpful with booking those hotels either. But if you can find use through Hyatt or United these points are extremely valuable.

    Totally agree many of their other transfer partners, like Marriott, Priority Club, etc., are a ripoff. The transfer ratio to all of them is 1:1, even though a United mile is worth maybe three times as much as a Marriott or Priority Club point.

  21. @ Grant, personally I think the Freedom card is a great choice since it has no fees and only requires $6K spend for 30K UR points… get both the visa and the mastercard and thats an easy 60K UR points for only $12K spending annually. less than that if your spending is “manufactured”

  22. @ Boraxo — I’ll cover that in a separate post. If it’s a category without a bonus I put it on the Starwood American Express, though between the above cards I earn bonuses on gas, groceries, hotels, airfare, travel, dining, drugstores, cable/internet/phone, and office supply stores. Can’t think of much else I spend money on!

  23. @ Nelumbo — Hah, for me it’s actually money clip vs. wallet. In my money clip are the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, Starwood American Express, and American Express Premier Rewards Gold card. In my wallet is everything else.

  24. @William, I just think it would be hard to purchase $1,500 or $3,000 in some of the categories, but I guess it is possible if you are creative. I think its easier for me to buy $200 Amex cards at OD, buy VR at CVS, and pay bills with BB. I can effectively “buy” UR points for .82 cents, so 30,000 UR points would cost only $246 if all the pieces line up.

  25. @ Rich A. — It’s recurring as far as I know. But it’s a moot point anyway, since the card’s days are numbered.

  26. @lucky – there are still quite a few 3rd party gift cards that you can buy at those office supply stores and get 5 UR points/$. You can buy lots of daily essential stuff by using those gift cards (ie. amazon etc.) Though $6.95 activation fee per $200 Visa Gift Card at these stores can cost about 3 UR points, and leaves you 2 UR points/$, however, you could pay no additional annual fee for keeping another Sapphire Preferred card.

  27. One thing you haven’t mentioned in your coverage is that effective May 1 Amex Gold only pays triple miles for direct bookings with airlines. No more double dipping by buying through UR mall with Expedia or Travelocity. A major minus in my book, and something possibly worth covering in a separate post.

  28. I appreciate you need to do these sort of posts from time to time but please don’t turn into a US credit card focused blog, for those of your readers based outside the USA it makes for pretty boring (or at times jealousy-inducing!) reading.

  29. Newbie here. It seems from your write up that you are holding on to a fair number of cards and opting to pay the annual fee. When referring to a “churn,” does that imply the ability to cancel a card and to reapply in a couple of years? If so, are you maximizing your points with the strategy you laid out?

  30. @ Deb S — Yes, there are some cards I keep long term, while there are others I churn (meaning I apply just for the bonuses and try to apply for them again in the future). Those that I keep are actually worth it for the annual benefits, like free nights, rebates, etc. Those I churn I’m just trying to maximize the miles I earn from the sign-ups.

  31. @Grant – thats pretty hard to argue with lol… if anything it’s nice to have a chase card with no annual fee just to keep a history with them and you can always use it as leverage when applying for a better chase card in the future.

  32. Regarding the number of Chase cards – I think it is more the total value of your credit line than it is the number of cards. I have United, Sapphire, Hyatt, BA personal cards and the Ink business card.

    Stupid question. I had the business AmEx gold and recently got the personal Amex Plat so now when the fee comes around for the business gold I can safely cancel it and not lose my points? (i.e., I only need one rewards card regardless of whether it is business or personal in order to keep the points?).


  33. Oh, one follow up question. If I want to try and get the Starwood Amex Business card is there any advantage to cancel the Amex business gold before or after trying for the Starwood business card?

  34. @ rich (arizona) — Absolutely, you can close down one card then. As far as the second question goes, there’s no advantage to canceling the card before or after. I might cancel before just so it looks like you have fewer business cards, though don’t think it’ll make a big difference.

  35. Hi Lucky, I have a similar portfolio as you do. But I am pondering if I should cancel the British Airways Visa. I got the card since last April and have got the companion voucher from last year. I don’t see much incentive keeping the card, the 10% discount on BA flights seems not justifying the annual fee. Do you think I should cancel it? On the other hand, I haven’t got the CITI AA VISA, so I am thinking to get this card after I cancel the BA Visa. I’ve actually just redeemed over 135,000 AA miles. Can I still have the 10k mile bonus for the miles i redeemed before i have the CITI AA card? Thanks!

  36. @ Alan — I was in a very similar situation with the BA card. Got one companion certificate but decided to cancel because I just don’t see much long term value in the card, and almost ended up throwing away the companion certificate because of the prohibitive fuel surcharges.

    You should be able to get the 10% rebate on the AAdvantage card for redemptions this year, but not redemptions from another year.

    Good luck!

  37. Any reason why you don’t put any spend on the AAdvantage Citi Visa? Which card do you use for purchasing revenue flights on AA?

  38. Well, the benefits of a lot of these cards do offset the fees. So I don’t know that it is so bad. For example the $200 rebates on the Amex Platinum card helps take some sting out of the $450 fee. And if you use the lounge access enough then the fee you would have paid to Priority Pass is another offset. Although if you are traveling up front anyway on an award or if you have status it’s probably less of a real benefit. Or if you don’t travel a lot. And the $100 Global Entry fee rebate is good once anyway. I was a little surprised how quickly that showed up on my account. My application is still in pending status but the fee is already offset.

    I have a lot of the same cards you do. I have the AA Amex and Visa. Planning to get rid of one or the other. Last year when I called to cancel they offered a statement credit to cover the annual fee after a couple of transactions. So I agreed to it. But this time I think I will only keep one.

    And then you have the hotel cards giving out free nights which more than cover the fee if you use them.

  39. @ Papa Smurf — It gives you at most two miles per dollar, while the Premier Rewards Gold card gives me three points per dollar spent. It’s just an all around pretty lame card, in my opinion.

  40. Lucky we have paid $100s or $1000s in each of the following categories with CCs in the past year: taxes, summer camp, youth sports fees, charitable contributions, HOA dues, target, sporting equipment, tempur-pedic bed, auto registration fees, amazon, auto repairs, water heater (and other home improvements), patio furniture, ski lift tickets… You get the picture. And there is not always a retail bonus when we need to buy!

  41. @Boraxo, if you have an Ink card, try to buy gift cards at office supply stores. You can get amazon, groupon, restaurants, fast food, etc. OD vs OM vs Staples all have slightly different cards so check them all out if you can. You can also buy pre-owned gift cards online for discount, shop giftcardgranny.com for good deals.

  42. Lucky, Why not cancel the amex plat since you will be getting the same lounge benefits with the Mercedes amex plat? Don’t forget to collect both calendar year airline fees before cancelling though.

    Do you know if these are churnable?

  43. @ alohastephen — You’re right, once I have the AmEx MB Plat card I should cancel the AmEx Plat card.

    As far as churnability goes, you don’t qualify for the bonus if you’ve had that or a similar card in the past 12 months.

  44. Lucky, what do you mean by a “similar” card. Is the rule that if you have had a personal Amex or a business Amex of any color (not co-branded with a travel/marketing partner) currently or in the previous 12 mos, you cannot get a bonus? Is that how it works? I would think that would apply to the vast majority of us.

  45. @ Adam P — Which cards are considered “similar” are defined on each application. For example, for the Platinum card it says: “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have had this product within the last 12 months or any Consumer ZYNC®, Green or Gold Card account within the last 90 days.”

    So if you’ve had any of those cards within the past 12 months you’re not eligible for the bonus again. But after that period you should be.

  46. I kinda got burned out on the credit card thing, have basically been canceling a lot of them when the fee comes due. But still have quite a few.

    I have the old Mileage Plus Select, which I use for 3x UA, 2x groceries; Chase Freedom – 10/10 bonus + 5x quarterly bonus; Chase Ink for 5x cable, mobile, gift cards, 2x gas; Sapphire Preferred for 2x non-UA travel/hotel/dining/parking, 7% bonus; United Explorer for rental car (primary coverage) and UA award tickets(domestic award upgrades); Starwood Amex for elite credits, domestic SW spend, OPEN savings (business card), everything else including those i want Amex warranty. I have the Amex Plat, but just use for benefits like FHR, airline clubs, airline credit, rental car elite, and their enhanced purchase protection up to $10k for big ticket items over $1k.

    The one gap i have is drug store, but i buy all of my gift cards with Ink at Office Max, OTC i get at the supermarket cheaper, and for the occasional Rx, i use my Health Savings Account debit card as it makes the tax record keeping so much cleaner, so i give up the points for that.

  47. @Tech Trainer — You can also transfer points to United miles, and then use the United Hotel portal to book a hotel room. The selection is quite good there, and has a decent interface. The rates are better on UR, although if you’re a United 1K then the rates are just about equal.

  48. Madness! 🙂
    9-10 different cards….
    Different culture I suppose, says the man who only has one in his wallet and does not owe on it…

  49. Thanks for good wrap up Ben. One additional data point for AMX-P cards. For 2012-13, we have four AMX-P cards (2 personal, 2 MB cards) earned 225MR points on spends. Nice bennies; global entry reimbursement, airline fee refundx2, lounge access (+ priority pass), SPG Gold status..but for us (as you know we cruise often) the AMX cruise bennies put these cards at the top of our churn list when possible. We get $300 Ship board credit, bottle of Dom and gally tour for each cruise we book by being AMX-P cardholders. Thus, as sweet as these AMX cards with conventional bennies, the cruise bennies double our investment ($450/$475)

  50. Nice post but it seems to me that its rare that this number if cards with an annual fee would make sense for someone who only travels 60 or so nights per year.

    For example, I have top tier in Starwood (50 night platinum to be specific), I prefer to stay at starwoods whenever it makes sense. If I’m having a vacation at a Hilton, I can just churn the citi honors visa and not pay a fee. For the few times I stay at a Hyatt I don’t see paying a fee for Internet access plus I’d rather stay at a Starwood to get more points.

    For most people who travel on business plus 3 vacations a tear, I’d say SPG plus chase sapphire are the oy ones worth renewing (assuming your company pays for a lounge).

    Any points you are “buying” that won’t be used for two years should be valued at 30% less than your current value.

  51. @Lucky This is not related to this post. Perhaps maybe have a blog dedicate on how to use Haiwaii Airlines miles since Hilton transfer is not a good value? I have over 240k HA miles. Any ideas on that? I have 300k AA, 900k United, 300k Delta, 300k southwest some sapphire/mr points too.

  52. Lucky, very useful post! 🙂

    One non-mileage reason why you might want to put a little spend on the Citi AAdvantage card: their “Virtual Account Numbers” feature is super-valuable for doing business with small online companies who you don’t completely trust. Since you can put a dollar limit on VANs and their locked to a single vendor, they can save you the hassle of having to get a new card and changing all the places where your card number is on file.

    I don’t put much spend on my AAdvantage card, but I use it frequently for (mostly) small purchases where the security of VANs is useful.

  53. If the Priority Club card is becoming a Master Card, do you have any clue as to whether the annual free-night benefit will remain?

  54. Ben – I promised my wife I would stop churning cards after we earned enough for a RTW trip in business class. I wish I could get her back on board! We opened Marriott, AA x 5, Chase Sapphire Preferred x 2, Chase Ink Bold, US Air, Amex Gold x2, and SPG.

  55. Ben – Received further confirmation from two other individuals at Barclay’s that the 10K renewal bonus for the US Airways card is ONLY for the first year’s renewal. You’re right in that there is no reason to hold on to this card.

  56. @ Bruce — That’s a great point.

    @ PSL — It’s anyone’s guess at this point, as I think it’s nothing more than a rumor.

  57. Hey Ben, it would be nice if you can show the spending requirement and the bonus on each card you list. Like $1500 in 4 months for 50,000 miles/points or something like that.

  58. Lucky,

    Inquiring about SPG Business amex again. The AMEX page says you get SPG Gold after 30K spend , but I still cant find anything about the 5 nights / 2 stays for the business card.

    The personal card still specifically lists the 5night / 2 stay bump.

    This is significant change in bennies, some may like it, but not me. I hope the night / stay bennie is still there, but I cant find anywhere in the documentation for the business card. It easy to find in the personal card.

    Is the change to the 30K spend gets SPG Gold new info for you?

    The link I looked at, that mentions 30K spend gets you Gold is:


  59. @ Robert — To the best of my knowledge the business card application has never listed the elite nights credit, though it has always posted. Starwood Lurker even confirmed on FlyerTalk that it’s a benefit.

    The $30,000 spend threshold for Gold isn’t new either.

  60. @Lucky,

    What do you think of the Club Carlson card? I assume with all the hotel devaluation going on, you would pick one up. Lastly, when you value the Starwood points approx 2.2 points, did you take in consideration with the devaluation going on?

    Thanks in advance!

  61. @ Bundy — The 2.2 cents per point value on Starpoints doesn’t factor in the devaluation, so I’ll have updated valuations shortly.

    I think the Club Carlson credit card is phenomenal, tough I try to go for Hyatt/Hilton/Starwood hotels if possible, so doesn’t make all that much sense in my case. But it’s a great card.

  62. Do you ever allow yourself to be retained? I just called CITI because my AA card have their fees coming due soon. Both times I was offered a $95 “one time statement credit” after I make 5 purchases in the next 3 months. And there’s no limit to how small those purchases can be. Last year was a similar story but I think it was a “one time” $85 credit then. So I decided to keep them since they aren’t costing me anything. And they have a pretty big credit line which helps my overall score.

  63. @ RakSiam — If it makes sense I’ll give into retention offers all the time. In your case I’d do it, especially if you planned on redeeming American miles, given the 10% discount.

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