The Credit Cards in My Wallet, Travel Wallet, and Drawer [2019]

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Credit cards have replaced flying as my core mile-earning vehicle.

Points bloggers talk much less about credit cards these days for a number of reasons:

  • Credit card affiliate marketing is the cash cow for blogs that can get approved to publish the links
  • Credit card issuers continue to cull the ranks of affiliates, and in particular, The Points Guy is increasingly getting exclusive offers
  • Credit card issuers have reduced the spread of cards with attractive affiliate offers
  • Bloggers that have affiliate links need to toe the marketing line and compliance line to keep their links
  • Bloggers have different interests, many currently active are interested in manufactured spend (of the churn and burn = bank shutdown kind) or merchandise and gift card reselling
  • Bloggers, to a surprising degree, are under Chase ‘5/24’
  • Bloggers that were once active on credit cards are at different life and points stages and no so active anymore
  • Readers click on ‘deals’, seemingly the more trivial the better (Hurry! Free pack of 10 pushpins today!!), and traffic equals ad revenue if you don’t have credit card links

Well, I have a terrible business model and credit cards are my points interest, so here are the cards I have. Here’s a picture of me in a swimming suit on my surfboard posing with my cards:

My Credit Cards

The Credit Cards in My Wallet

I carry a slim wallet that only holds a few cards:

  • Amex Delta Platinum (non-bonused spend to earn Delta MQMs each year)
  • Amex Hilton Ascend (supermarkets)
  • Citi Costco Anywhere Visa (Costco, gas)
  • Citi Prestige (dining, airfare)
  • City National Bank Crystal Visa Infinite (non-airfare travel, supermarkets that don’t accept Amex)
  • Any card that I am working on a sign-up bonus

The Credit Cards in My Travel Wallet

I have a travel wallet in my briefcase:

  • Amex Platinum Charles Schwab (Centurion Lounge access; I bank and have investments with Charles Schwab, this is a long-term keeper for me)
  • Amex Platinum Morgan Stanley (for this year only)
  • Chase United MileagePlus Explorer (for travel benefits on United)
  • Diners Club Professional (airport lounge access)
  • Discover it Minnesota Wild edition (to carry a bit of Minnesota with me)
  • ICBC Preferred UnionPay Gold (for China)

The Hotel Credit Cards That Sometimes are in My Travel Wallet

I use these from time to time for hotel benefits or to pay for a stay. I keep them because of the annual certs.

  • Amex Hilton Aspire
  • Chase IHG Rewards Club Select
  • Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier
  • Chase Hyatt (I’ve not upgraded to the World of Hyatt Card)
  • Chase Marriott Premier (I’ve not upgraded to Premier Plus / Bonvoy Boundless)
  • Chase Marriott Premier Plus Business
  • US Bank Radisson Rewards Premier
  • US Bank Radisson Rewards Business

The Credit Cards in My Drawer

I take out these cards for specific promotions or keep them for specific benefits.

  • BofA Better Balance Rewards (>2, charity donations for quarterly cash back)
  • Chase Freedom (>2, quarterly 5x points categories)
  • Citi AT&T Access More (2, online purchases 3x)
  • Citi Dividend (>2, quarterly 5% cash back categories)
  • Citi Sears (ThankYou-point earning version, targeted spend offers)
  • Discover it (2 including the one in my travel wallet, quarterly 5% cash back categories)
  • Fidelity Rewards Visa (previously to load Serve, now for occasional targeted spend offers that take months to post)
  • Marvel (3x categories, awesome card art)
  • PenFed Pathfinder Rewards ($100 annual travel credit)
  • Wells Fargo Propel Amex (mobile phone insurance, GoFar Rewards offers)

The Credit Cards with Me This Year

Cards that will be retired within a year:

  • Amex Hilton Business
  • Chase Iberia
  • Citi American Airlines personal (2)
  • Citi American Airlines business (2)
  • HSBC Advance
  • HSBC Cash Rewards
  • US Bank FlexPerks personal (Olympics offer)
  • US Bank FlexPerks business (Olympics offer)
  • Wells Fargo Business Platinum

The Credit Cards That I Want

Credit cards that I want and have a hope of approval, so that excludes:

  • Amex – cards I’ve had before due to ‘once per lifetime’ bonus rule
  • BofA – I am laying low on personal cards because of their ‘4 personal credit cards rule’
  • Chase – all cards now subject to 5/24 and workarounds have all failed for me

Credit cards that I want:

Readers, what other cards should I want? What questions do you have on my card portfolio?

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[…] get me wrong, you can play the game for a long time if you know what you’re doing. Stefan from Rapid Travel Chai is as good at this as anyone I know and has a wallet full of cards to prove it and a list of ones he wants to cancel or sign up for in […]


[…] from Rapid Travel Chai lists the cards he’s currently holding, what he’s looking to get rid of and cards he wan…. Just looking at the list of cards he’s considering signing up for will show you […]

5 years ago

For what it’s worth, I also find posts like this super helpful. Thanks for taking the time to share.

Rich T.
Rich T.
5 years ago
Reply to  Eric

I agree with Eric – I love your “this is what I actually do and may do” post. Always intrigued by some of your esoteric choices.

I’m also curious about which offers may only be going to TPGs – the blogging inside baseball is interesting too.

5 years ago

Would the ICBC card work for Wechat Pay? Any application tips or how strict they are with approvals?

5 years ago

For BoA my very recent experience (1 wk ago) in applying for the Alaska Airlines business card is that they will ask for 2 yrs of full tax returns IF you’re a sole proprietor, which I am. I won’t share my tax returns with anyone except the IRS, so I withdrew my application, or rather I called BoA recon to explain, they wouldn’t budge, so I said I no longer wanted to move forward with it Just a heads up in case you’re a sole proprietor, like many other cc churners.

5 years ago
Reply to  YoLaViajera

I just was instantly approved a few weeks ago for this, no paper work required, sole proprietor

rick i
rick i
5 years ago

Great post Stefan. Thanks