The 27 Credit Cards In My Wallet Right Now

The 27 Credit Cards In My Wallet Right Now

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Maximizing credit cards is one of the best ways to elevate your travel. This can include signing up for the credit cards with the best welcome bonuses, using the right credit cards for your everyday spending, and also taking advantage of other credit card perks.

There are a lot of misconceptions about the impact that applying for credit cards can have on your credit score. I have over two dozen credit cards, and my credit score is excellent.

In this post I wanted to first share a brief intro regarding how applying for credit cards impacts your credit score, then I’ll talk about what goes into my credit card decision making process, and then I’ll share the cards I have open.

How credit cards impact your credit score

There are a lot of misconceptions about how credit scores work, in particular people thinking that applying for credit cards hurts your credit score. That’s generally not true, and in many cases applying for cards can even help your credit score in the long run.

The beginners guide on the blog has a section about credit cards and credit scores, and should provide some insights on that. For context, I have a lot of credit cards, and my credit score is almost perfect, in the top couple of percent nationwide.

For those of you not familiar, here’s what factors into your credit score:

  • 35% of your score is your payment history (the percentage of payments you’ve made on-time)
  • 30% of your score is your credit utilization (how much credit you’re using compared to your total limits)
  • 15% of your score is your credit age (the average age of your open accounts)
  • 10% of your score is the types of credit you use (how many different types of requests for credit you have)
  • 10% of your score is your requests for new credit (how many times you’ve applied for credit)

What’s most important is that you pay your bills on time, don’t utilize too much of your credit (meaning you want to ideally use 20% or less of your total available credit, and/or pay your credit card bills early), and keep some cards long term, which will help increase your average age of accounts.

The only metric that’s lowered by applying for cards is your requests for new credit, but that makes up just 10% of your score. Furthermore, credit inquiries typically fall off your report after 24 months.

Closing credit cards that are no longer working for you potentially doesn’t harm your credit much either, though alternatively you can also often downgrade credit cards instead.

What I look for in credit cards

For me, there are three things I look for when applying for credit cards:

  • Credit cards that offer a big welcome bonus — often the introductory bonuses on cards are compelling, and enough reason to pick up a new card
  • Credit cards that offer a generous return on everyday spending — there are some cards you have because they help you maximize the points you earn for everyday spending
  • Credit cards that offer ongoing perks that more than justify the annual fee — some cards are worth holding onto even if you don’t plan on putting much spending on them, because they offer things like elite status, annual free nights, etc.

The 27 credit cards that I have right now

Now let me share what cards I have at the moment. I have 27 open credit cards right now — so far this year I’ve canceled one card and have applied for two cards, so I have one more card than I had at the beginning of 2021.

Here are the credit cards that I have, broken down by issuer:

My nine American Express cards

See this post for more on my overall Amex card strategy, and see this post for the best credit cards for earning Amex points.

I love the free night certificate on the Hilton Aspire Card

My two Bank of America cards

I was prepared to dump both of these cards when the annual fees come due since I live in South Florida (which is weak for Alaska Airlines). However, with American and Alaska cooperating more closely, and Alaska now being in oneworld, I could see these becoming more useful again.

The Alaska companion fares are super useful

My one Barclays card

The JetBlue Plus Card saves me points every time I redeem

My one Capital One card

Spark miles can be transferred to Etihad Guest for first class redemptions

My ten Chase cards

See this post for more on my overall Chase card strategy, and see this post for the best credit cards for earning Chase points.

Transfer Ultimate Rewards points to World of Hyatt

My three Citi cards

See this post for more on my overall Citi card strategy, and see this post for the best credit cards for earning Citi points.

The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card offers an Admirals Club membership

My one US Bank card

Redeem points at the Radisson Blu Longyearbyen, the world’s northernmost hotel

Has coronavirus changed my card strategy?

Coronavirus hasn’t caused me to tweak my credit card strategy that much, in spite of the major impact the pandemic has had on the travel industry, so let me explain why. First of all, I’ve always viewed optimizing credit card rewards as a long-term strategy. I do everything I can to collect transferable points, since these give me the most flexibility, and they also devalue the least.

There’s no doubt that travel will eventually fully recover, and that’s why it has been “business as usual” for me, though my strategy does give me flexibility:

  • My go-to card for everyday spending is the Citi® Double Cash Card, and that card gives me the flexibility to earn cash back or transferable points, all at a great rate; cards with this kind of flexibility are more valuable than ever before
  • Having the Chase Sapphire Reserve® gives me a lot of flexibility within the Chase Ultimate Rewards ecosystem; while I still intend to use these rewards for travel, Chase has a “Pay Yourself Back” feature that allows you to redeem points for 1.5 cents each towards everyday expenses
  • I’ve long loved hotel credit cards that offer annual free night certificates, and as of now I find these cards continue to offer great value, as these free nights largely have more flexibility in terms of where they can be redeemed, and expiration on many has also been extended

To approach my credit card portfolio a bit differently:

  • Six of my credit cards have no annual fees, so there’s no cost to holding onto those
  • The math is continuing to work for me on the “premium” cards earning transferable points (Chase Sapphire Reserve, Amex Platinum, Citi Prestige, etc.), though I’ll continue to assess that as annual fees come due
  • All of my hotel credit cards are offering rewards that more than offset the annual fees, even in this environment

The only cards I’m questioning are the following:

  • I might not renew the Alaska cards when the annual fees come due, since I live in South Florida, and Alaska Airlines’ service there is limited
  • I might simplify my business card portfolio a bit and get rid of the Capital One Spark Miles Card when the annual fee comes due, as I’m pretty well served by my Amex and Chase business cards
  • The Amex EveryDay Preferred is always kind of only marginally worth it to me, given the requirement to make 30 transactions per month to really maximize it; I might just downgrade it to the no annual fee Amex EveryDay Card in order to maintain credit history and access to Amex Offers on yet another card

Bottom line

Hopefully the above is an interesting rundown of the credit cards I have. I’d like to think that almost all of these credit cards serve a purpose as part of my long-term credit card strategy, either because they offer an excellent rewards structure, or because they offer perks that make the cards worth holding onto.

There are a few cards that I plan on canceling at their account renewal, though I’ll deal with those situations as they arise.

As you can see, my credit score is also excellent in spite of how many credit cards I have, which should hopefully put some of you at ease who are considering applying for new cards.

How many credit cards do you have right now?

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: American Express® Business Gold Card (Rates & Fees), The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees), Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (Rates & Fees), and Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (Rates & Fees).

Conversations (20)
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  1. Shyam Guest

    Given that most places take ApplePay (and other mobile payments) since the pandemic switched most businesses to touchless interfaces, I get more out of my Alt Reserve that than any other card in my wallet.

  2. Nicholas Ritchey Guest

    Hey ben - Thanks for sharing this! I try to mimic you wherever I can. One area I have a question about is your AMEX portfolio. I thought you can only have 4 AMEX cards at once? Do biz cards count separately? I am at 4 but want 1 or 2 more :)

  3. James Guest

    Jeez, that's over $5,000 per year in annual fees! I get that for many/most of them, the math works out to them being "worth it" on a card-by-card basis, but in the aggregate that still seems like a ton of money.

    I do see a few cards that I don't quite understand why they'd be worth it to you. Why keep the AA Executive card at $450/year? Are there really times when you don't...

    Jeez, that's over $5,000 per year in annual fees! I get that for many/most of them, the math works out to them being "worth it" on a card-by-card basis, but in the aggregate that still seems like a ton of money.

    I do see a few cards that I don't quite understand why they'd be worth it to you. Why keep the AA Executive card at $450/year? Are there really times when you don't otherwise have lounge access and use the Admiral's Club membership? Also, why keep the CSR when you have the Amex Platinum?

  4. Endre Guest

    I have the Citi Prestige, Amex Platinum, and UOB Infinite — and are happy. Personally, I couldn’t justify having 27 credit cards

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Wait, you don't have the Citi Chairman?

  5. Ernest Guest

    I have a question about income levels. I believe that it's fine to put one's combined household income, right? I used to just put my own income. Then I decided to put our combined income (my spouse makes vastly more than I do). Oddly, I've got rejected from even basic cards (like Alaska's!) with the higher household income. Do they think I'm lying/a scammer? I'd like to use the higher income to get more premium...

    I have a question about income levels. I believe that it's fine to put one's combined household income, right? I used to just put my own income. Then I decided to put our combined income (my spouse makes vastly more than I do). Oddly, I've got rejected from even basic cards (like Alaska's!) with the higher household income. Do they think I'm lying/a scammer? I'd like to use the higher income to get more premium cards, but I don't like rejections. Being turned down from Alaska, esp. with my very good credit!

  6. Joe1293 Guest

    These are my favorite posts!!
    Which one is your favorite card out of the 27?

  7. Dan Guest

    I thought AMEX had a five card limit. No?

  8. Greg Guest

    I know it would probably invade all sorts of privacy but whenever I read these types of posts, be it here or at any of the other similar sites, I am always wondering, just how much money are people spending to be able to maximize the earnings on their twenty odd credit cards... Breaking down the spends and how much they're spending, now _that_ is a post that I would like to see.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      I’m Pareto principle guy. I’m aiming for 80% of the benefits with 20% of the cards/effort.

      Of course, it’s not my livelihood, so more power to Ben.

  9. Weymar Osborne Gold

    Lucky, what's your rationale for holding on to the AmEx Green Card if the Platinum now offers a $179 Clear Credit, The Sapphire Reserve has 3X points on travel, you can use the Gold Card for 4X points on dining or the Prestige for 5X points, and most LoungeBuddy lounges can be accessed through your numerous Priority Pass memberships?

    1. relidtm Gold

      if he did cruises I can see it, I've been debating dropping my CSR for this card since I get 3x hotel/3x transport/cruise, etc, the biggest reason I haven't grabbed this is that when I was traveling internationally visa was more accepted and CSR has snagged the 3x on almost everything abroad I'm curious on why he keeps this also because I've been back and forth with it.

  10. Jeremy Guest

    With the changes to the Amex Gold card, I don't see how the EveryDay Preferred is competitive anymore.

  11. Si Guest

    Product change Alaska personal card to BoA Cash Rewards. Cancel the Alaska Biz. That's what I did.

  12. Joey Diamond

    Am I the only one thinking what kind of wallet Ben must have that can carry 27 cards?

    1. DCYukon Guest

      Not at all. I was just wondering how much that wallet weighs and just how large it needs to be for that many cards. Surely, it exceeds weight allowances.

  13. Mark P New Member

    Yeah, I would dump the Alaska cards if I were you. Yes, AA and Alaska are partners now, but the companion pass can only be used on Alaska metal in economy. And your only options there from South Florida are the west coast flights from FLL. Plus by dumping them you'll start the clock on being able to open them again in the future to get another signup bonus.

  14. Daven Guest

    I always picture George Costanza when you write one of these summary articles.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      And Kramer whenever a deal articles come out?

    2. Chuck Guest

      Get 50 cents off an 8-gallon fill-up at any Tuscaloosa-area Citgo station.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

DCYukon Guest

Not at all. I was just wondering how much that wallet weighs and just how large it needs to be for that many cards. Surely, it exceeds weight allowances.

1
Shyam Guest

Given that most places take ApplePay (and other mobile payments) since the pandemic switched most businesses to touchless interfaces, I get more out of my Alt Reserve that than any other card in my wallet.

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Nicholas Ritchey Guest

Hey ben - Thanks for sharing this! I try to mimic you wherever I can. One area I have a question about is your AMEX portfolio. I thought you can only have 4 AMEX cards at once? Do biz cards count separately? I am at 4 but want 1 or 2 more :)

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