The 21 Credit Cards In My Wallet Right Now

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It has been over six months since I’ve shared my credit card inventory, so I figured it’s time for an update, as we’ve entered the second half of the year. I think this is especially useful given how many new credit cards we’ve seen introduced lately. Interestingly I have the same number of credit cards I had over six months ago, though in the process I’ve applied for a couple of new cards, and have also canceled a couple of cards.

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.

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 over 20 credit cards, and my credit score is in the top couple of percent nationwide.

For those of you not familiar, here are the things that factor 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 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.

What I look for in credit cards

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

  • They offer a big welcome bonus — often the introductory bonuses on cards are compelling, and enough reason to pick up a new card
  • They offer a generous return on everyday spend — there are some cards you have because they help you maximize the points you earn for everyday spend
  • They 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 spend on them, because they offer things like elite status, annual free nights, etc.

The 21 credit cards I have right now

Now let me share what cards I have at the moment. As mentioned above, I have 21 open credit cards right now, which is the same number of cards I had over six months ago (though consists of some different cards).

Here they are, broken down by issuer:

American Express:


I love the Centurion Lounge access offered with the Platinum Card from American Express

Bank of America:


The Alaska companion certificate has allowed me to score some great deals on flights

Barclays:


The Aviator Silver Card has helped me requalify for Executive Platinum with American

Chase:

Citi:


The Admirals Club membership offered with the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card is tough to beat

US Bank:


In 2016 I stayed at the Radisson Blu Longyearbyen, the world’s northernmost hotel

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 in 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.

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?

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Comments

  1. Hey Lucky, I love these posts! I’m always interested with what your credit card situation is.

  2. Since 2015 I opened 30 credit cards and cancelled 13 of them leaving me with 17 active credit cards!! Thanks to all your recommendations :):)

  3. I really want to like the AmEx platinum, but I find what’s supposed to be a VIP experience is ruined by all sorts of ‘gotchas’ on the card.

    Centurion Lounge access is great -when- it works, but recently that’s just not been the case, with overcrowding at SFO and SEA leading to bizarre access rules (essentially 80 minutes before boarding ) when you need it the most (aka the airport is a zoo or you’re on standby) Now that they won’t let you in without a confirmed seat assignment it’s a double whammy, especially at airports like LGA where the lounge is airside. This balanced by the fact the lounges are insanely overcrowded and feel more like a daycare center than a relaxing place.

    The Uber credit is, let’s be real, useless. Same with the Saks credit. They’re better than nothing, but doling these out in tiny fragments feel like a lot of work for something that should just be a nice benefit.

    The airline credit… I have no idea what it’s for aside from buying airline gift cards. My lounge membership for Alaska apparently didn’t count (only daypasses?) and they’re kind of snippy about it when you bring it up.

    Points earning is awesome for airfare, but travel protection benefits are next to nil next to the CSR, so aside from small throwaway trips I find the CSR is my goto for airfare almost every time.

  4. @Lucky, I’m curious about two things.

    First, are you planning on keeping the Hilton Ascend card long-term? The biggest benefit is HH Gold, which you already get with your Amex Plat. If you already have Gold, it seems to me that it’s only worth having for the 10 PP visits (when you need to bring in more than 2 guests).

    Second, are you planning on getting the IHG Premier card for the 4th night free benefit (and anniversary night)? It seems like Chase is moving towards restricting the number of cards within the same family to one (like the Sapphire, Hyatt, and Southwest lines). Perhaps now’s the time to get the IHG Premier, or you might have to eventually give up the IHG Select if you wanted to get the new product.

  5. It is my understanding that the BA 10% discount is no longer being honored. At least ffrom my experience. Was this just an anomaly, or has the discount been discontinued?

  6. @Lucky How do you insure all of your cards stay active? Do you put minimal spend on cards you rarely use every couple of months?

  7. Alpha – the Amex Plat works best when you can get a lot of use out of Delta lounges as well as the Centurion lounge. I use the airline credits for AA day passes, and the Uber credits are useful to me.

    My main cards are
    – Amex Platinum Charles Schwab (airfare, bills, other unbonused spend)
    – CSP (travel, dining)
    – Hilton Ascend (dining, groceries)
    – Discover It Cashback Match (rotating categories, unbonused spend)

    Pretty simple strategy aimed at earning MR, UR, Hilton or Cashback whenever it works best. I also have other cards that don’t get a ton of use

    Looking to add
    – Delta Platinum or Reserve (I have a Gold now, but I need MQM earning as well)
    – Hilton Aspire (100,000 point bonus, more credits, Diamond)
    – A Citi AA card
    – One more hotel card (Hyatt or Marriott)
    – Capital One Venture

    As a Delta/AA flier and a general hotel agnostic traveler who books 75% of travel on a corporate card, this should cover all of the bases. I am also working on upgrading into the Freedom Unlimited/CSR combo. If anyone has suggestions let me know.

  8. When Ford travels with u WHO pays ?? 14 cards 820 Fico No job 11 years . Hate the Rich !! Vote for Bernie 2020 .

    CHEERS

  9. Seriously how do you put so much spend on this many cards to justify keeping all of them. I have trouble enough with three cards.

  10. I count a total of $3,187 in annual fees on those 21 cards on a yearly basis. That’s wild. Only 4 of your cards have no annual fee. You travel all the time so most of these make sense but I have to think that you got some of these just for the bonus and will cancel.

  11. Do you really carry them all in your wallet as per the headline? If so, your wallet must be very George Costanza-like…

  12. The credit scores posted are FAKO scores from Credit Karma. It is very likely that his actual FICO scores, especially Experian, are lower.

  13. @ Michael — Hah, in fairness I have three wallets, though between them all the cards are indeed in there.

  14. @ Mr G — In the case of a lot of these cards I don’t actually put spend on them, but rather I keep many of them for the benefits they offer.

  15. @ Craig U — In many cases I don’t put any spend on the cards, and I’ve never had a card closed down due to lack of activity. Maybe I’m just lucky.

  16. @ Tennen — Great questions! I’m thinking I’ll eventually upgrade from the Hilton Ascend to the Hilton Aspire, for the Diamond status and other perks. That seems more worthwhile in my specific circumstances. You’re correct that I already get Gold status through the Amex Platinum, so there’s limited value there.

    And yep, I plan to get the IHG Premier Card for the fourth night free and for the second anniversary free night certificate. While there is that restriction with Hyatt, Sapphire, Southwest, and Marriott Cards, it’s still possible to get both IHG Cards.

  17. @ AndieNarwhal — Yep, for those that have annual fees and I’ve had them for over a year, I sure do pay the fees.

  18. I have 11 cards, planning to downgrade one, cancel two and add one more this year for a total of ten. Total fees of around $400. Only five of these are used directly for travel. I have two cards that are not remotely travel connected – my Amazon 5% cash back card and my Apple Rewards card (free financing and generous gift cards with purchases – new MacBook Pro coming soon!). I’m at 3/24 and anticipating the next great Chase offer!

    I’m amazed that Lucky and others can optimize rewards on so many cards.

  19. I had my Citi double cash and capital one shutdown because of inactivity. No appeal possible.

    Now capital one sends mailers to my cat to open an account. Idiots

  20. @lucky

    Thanks for the reply. Even though what I was booking was RT and on all BA metal, for some reason it didn’t go through.

    A point to mention for those who use the new BA site. Even if you’re booking a round trip, use the multi city search function. This take you to the old version of the site and allow you to add the discount code. For whatever reason It didn’t work for my particular itinerary, but hopefully will work for others.

  21. @Lucky

    I thought you got yourself the 100k Marriott card. You said that’s your aim after you hit 4/24.

  22. @Lucky: You forgot to mention that the Citi Prestige® Card’s AWESOME lounge benefit through Priority Pass!! Also, if you have a Citi checking account the annual fee is only $350 (instead of $450), then after the $250 in travel benefits I’m essentially paying $100.00 for a year’s worth of Priority Pass lounge access; not bad! And, for the first time ever I was able to use my 4th night free benefit which saved me $119, so I think I’m ahead of this this year.

  23. I’m a DL and AA flyer. Elite with both. Presently a paid member of the Admirals Club. Have a Platinum Delta Amex. Recently got an “upgrade offer” for a Reserve DL Amex. But thinking of both the Platinum Amex and Chase Sapphire Reserve. Wondering what makes most sense. I like that the Amex would give DL club access and PP lounges. I like that the Chase has PP and also good points for dining/travel, which are big categories for me. How to pick between the two? Any reason to consider the Reserve? I’d been thinking of cancelling the DL-specific card and moving to one of the others.

  24. @ Kerri — Happy you’ve had a good experience with the Citi Prestige as well. The card does have a good Priority Pass benefit, though the reason I didn’t specifically call it out is because I get a similar benefit through several other cards.

  25. @ eskimo — Correct, I was going to get it after I hit 5/24, but I only get to that point in a couple of months, so haven’t been able to apply for it yet.

  26. @ dcaflyer — That’s a great question. Let’s start with this — you say you’re a paid member of the Admirals Club? Have you considered getting the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card? It has a $450 annual fee (the lowest cost of an Admirals Club membership), and you get a Priority Pass membership, and can add 10 authorized users at no cost, and they get Admirals Club access as well. I mention that because then a Priority Pass membership would no longer be a point of consideration with these cards.

    Personally I think it could make sense to get the Amex Platinum and the Reserve. While that’s a lot of annual fees, you’re looking at a $300 annual travel credit, $200 annual airline fee credit, $200 annual Uber credit, $100 annual Saks credit, and a lot more.

  27. Just ordered Hilton Ascend for my wife, when I noticed 100,000 points for a measly $2,000 spend AND, 10 complimentary visits to Priority Pass Clubs. Since I already have the card, we both have 20 credits annually. That makes the $95 annual fee seem like a bargain.

  28. Regarding the Hilton Ascend Priority Pass access. For the 10 complimentary visits, is it limited to the passholder or can s/he bring guests? Eg. does the passholder have access to PP lounges on 10 separate visits, or could s/he go once and bring nine friends?

  29. Congrats – your “trips” (3 wallets) are legal! Solid portfolio. My only questions are: why the Radisson – what type property do you specifically use the 40k annual points for & receive good value? And: you don’t have even 1 solid 2x cash back card to use for trip incidentals, etc.

    In place of your Radisson I have a Wyndham Rewards card. The $75 fee is the same as the Radisson & the 9,000 annual points also more than covers the fee ($108 WR v $160 RR). But I think Wyndham’s portfolio is much stronger and (can be) nicer than Radisson’s. Anyways, just curious how/why the Radisson card with all the other premiums you own.

  30. @ Pam — To be honest I’ve been hoarding Radisson points. I haven’t actually used them, but I figure at the rate of $75 per 40,000 points, it’s tough to go wrong, and eventually I’ll find a use for them, as I keep collecting more. There are some places in Northern Europe where Radisson properties are the best options.

    And nope, I don’t have a 2% cash back card that I use. Personally I’d rather earn 1.5x points with the Amex EveryDay Preferred or Freedom Unlimited, since I value those points at more than 2%.

  31. Didn’t know that about N Europe & Radisson – thx!

    1.5x on all spend on the FU cashes out at only 1 cent (no bonus categories), whereas a 2x cash card cashes out at 2 cents. I personally only use my URs for transferring to the CSR for more value (as you also state) but still find it helpful to have a good cash back card to liquidate periodically for extra spend money on vacation. Thanks again!

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