The 29 Credit Cards In My Wallet Right Now

The 29 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, maximizing credit card bonus categories, and 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:

The 29 credit cards that I have right now

Now let me share what cards I have at the moment. I have 29 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 the best credit cards for earning Amex points.

I love the free night certificate on the Hilton Aspire Card

My one Bank of America card

While I was prepared to dump this card, the companion certificate is worth more than the annual fee to me, especially with Alaska Airlines launching flights to Miami, and American and Alaska now cooperating more closely.

The Alaska companion fare is super useful

My one Barclays card

  • JetBlue Plus Card (review) — this card offers a 5,000 point bonus on the account anniversary each year, plus a 10% refund on JetBlue points redemptions, which to me justifies the $99 annual fee
The JetBlue Plus Card saves me points every time I redeem

My three Capital One cards

I’ll probably end up canceling the Spark Miles for Business when the annual fee is due, instead focusing on the Spark Cash Plus. That card offers more flexibility, since I can convert rewards into Capital One miles in conjunction with the Venture X.

Access the Capital One Lounge DFW with the Venture X

My 11 Chase cards

See this post for the best credit cards for earning Chase points.

Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to World of Hyatt

My three Citi cards

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

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 (27)
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  1. Roger Guest

    How often do you apply for cards and how many a year?

  2. Points MN Guest

    Looks like I'm now at 11 after opening VentureX the other day. Got started on the IHG Select and then got into TPG and have perhaps gone a little nuts these past couple of years, also have IHG Premier now and that is a great combo to have. Have a couple of no annual fee cards from current and former banks, also the no annual fee Choice Hotels card (free Gold status with Choice)! IHG...

    Looks like I'm now at 11 after opening VentureX the other day. Got started on the IHG Select and then got into TPG and have perhaps gone a little nuts these past couple of years, also have IHG Premier now and that is a great combo to have. Have a couple of no annual fee cards from current and former banks, also the no annual fee Choice Hotels card (free Gold status with Choice)! IHG is my primary and Choice is backup hotel program, seems like when there aren't other options in small towns there is often a Choice branded hotel. Have stayed at both nice and not so nice Econo Lodges and Quality Inns. Have Delta Gold and Sun Country cards, both useful for flying from MSP but value from Delta Gold is questionable considering how little I've actually been flying, all the free food they offered for using it last year made it worth keeping though. The Sun Country card giving half off on all the extra fees seems to make flying with them actually a fairly good value. Have the United Gateway card as I thought about becoming loyal to United (and wanted a better return on gas purchases) when they had flights to Denver and Chicago out of the other airport I fly out of but they pulled out entirely right after I got the card. But now Sun Country is there along with Delta and American. Then have Chase Sapphire Preferred and Freedom Unlimited which is also a great combo, good enough I was hesitant on the VentureX but decided ultimately to go for the bonus and the Priority Pass membership, figure the travel credit and annual bonus points will balance out the annual fee for the first year at least. Probably hard for me to justify adding more at this point.

  3. Points in PDX Guest

    Ben, there are several unanswered questions in the comments from your Jan 18 post about how you use all of your cards.

    It would be great if you have time to respond!

  4. Jeff Guest

    It would be interesting to discuss earning and benefit overlap. Sure, there are a few niche transfer partners each of these ecosystems offer, but are you earning enough in each of them for it to be worth it?

    I would argue that high participation in fewer loyalty programs / flexible currencies is better than low participation in many. Why? Because to effectively redeem, one must sufficiently earn.

    Beyond AmEx, Chase, and the co-brands I...

    It would be interesting to discuss earning and benefit overlap. Sure, there are a few niche transfer partners each of these ecosystems offer, but are you earning enough in each of them for it to be worth it?

    I would argue that high participation in fewer loyalty programs / flexible currencies is better than low participation in many. Why? Because to effectively redeem, one must sufficiently earn.

    Beyond AmEx, Chase, and the co-brands I have loyalty to; it’s hard to see where the differentiation is in other programs that yields additional value.

    Is the strategy to rotate spend across overlapping programs to diversify transfer partners? Is there that much differentiation?

  5. Rufus T. Bass Guest

    I have 17 open credit cards at the moment and 68 that I have closed over the past 10 years. I presently have over 7 million points/miles accumulated through purchases and bonus offers during that time, and have "spent" millions more, thanks to the large amount of expenses I incur in my small business. I've never had an application denied and I'd like to keep my streak going. Consequently, I have not applied for any...

    I have 17 open credit cards at the moment and 68 that I have closed over the past 10 years. I presently have over 7 million points/miles accumulated through purchases and bonus offers during that time, and have "spent" millions more, thanks to the large amount of expenses I incur in my small business. I've never had an application denied and I'd like to keep my streak going. Consequently, I have not applied for any Capital One cards during that time, as from what I read, the number of active cards I hold would all but assure me of rejection. Still, I was tempted by this blogpost to give it a shot on the Venture X card, but I think Darin is right. Other than "mainstream" bloggers, I don't believe I have seen datapoints from anyone having as many open accounts as I do being approved for the Venture X, and certainly no one having as many as Ben's 29.

  6. David Guest

    Thanks for sharing an intimate peak into your wallet.
    I did the math (probably incorrectly!) and I calculated your AF total to be $4,941.00
    I hope you've figured out a way to achieve that amount of savings, especially since some of the benefits are duplicated among your current holdings. Seriously, how many reimbursed TSA precheck applications does one need?
    Do you use a spreadsheet, or are you able to mentally keep track...

    Thanks for sharing an intimate peak into your wallet.
    I did the math (probably incorrectly!) and I calculated your AF total to be $4,941.00
    I hope you've figured out a way to achieve that amount of savings, especially since some of the benefits are duplicated among your current holdings. Seriously, how many reimbursed TSA precheck applications does one need?
    Do you use a spreadsheet, or are you able to mentally keep track of when to use which card to maximize earnings and/or achieve spending thresholds?
    Inquiring minds want to know...

  7. John Guest

    Gotta wonder what's the size of that wallet. Clear case of pics or it didn't happen.

  8. Darin Guest

    One of my main takeaways is that clearly CapOne has put you on some kind of green list for approvals, not surprising since they’re paying you to advertise their cards. I don’t begrudge you making a living, but it kind of drives me crazy to see you and other bloggers crowing about their instant approvals with CapOne. All datapoints out there point to people with the number of cards you have open being denied new...

    One of my main takeaways is that clearly CapOne has put you on some kind of green list for approvals, not surprising since they’re paying you to advertise their cards. I don’t begrudge you making a living, but it kind of drives me crazy to see you and other bloggers crowing about their instant approvals with CapOne. All datapoints out there point to people with the number of cards you have open being denied new CapOne cards, but somehow it’s a “wow” moment that you get approved. How would you review their cards (multiple times) if you weren’t able to get them? It makes perfect business sense for CapOne to do this, but don’t try to mislead your readers that their cards are accessible for those with your exact credit profile who don’t have a blog and a business relationship with them.

  9. Jill Guest

    wow I love this

    Very useful and informative

    Thank You very much

  10. Keefer Guest

    Hi Ben. In one of your earlier posts on the recent changes to the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Preferred cards, you mentioned that you'd most likely be downgrading your Reserve to the Preferred card. Are you still going to do it or have you changed your mind? I'm currently thinking of doing the same thing. But not certain. I still have a few weeks before the annual fee is due.

  11. Reno Joe Guest

    Ben, you bad boy. There is the other end of the spectrum. I went through the exercise of asking, based on my spending pattern, how much I'd be leaving on the table if I were to boil it down to five cards, then four cards, then three cards, then two cards, then one card. It turned out that three optimally selected cards captured about 98 percent of potential value and two optimally selected cards captured...

    Ben, you bad boy. There is the other end of the spectrum. I went through the exercise of asking, based on my spending pattern, how much I'd be leaving on the table if I were to boil it down to five cards, then four cards, then three cards, then two cards, then one card. It turned out that three optimally selected cards captured about 98 percent of potential value and two optimally selected cards captured about 95 percent of potential value. In the end, my wife and I sit with three keeper cards. YMMV. Your optimally selected three cards will depend on your circumstances. And, if you're in two-player mode, simple = happy.

    1. Andrew Guest

      Still have to sign up and cancel for those sign up bonuses.

    2. Reno Joe Guest

      These are the long-term keepers, so no cancel.

      If someone wants to do the sign-up bonus / cancel thing, those are separate cards.

    3. TexasRob New Member

      You're going to keep us in suspense, eh? :)

    4. TexasRob Guest

      Reno Joe, what are the three cards you deemed optimal in your situation?

  12. Dustin Guest

    So with nearly $5900 in annual fees and almost certain overlap in benefits between that many cards, seems to me that money is being wasted?

    1. Reno Joe Guest

      Of the three keepers I mention above, two are no-annual-fee. Just worked out that way -- I wasn't shooting for that. The third has an annual fee, all but $75 of which is offset by statement credits. And, there's not a card benefit that's absent.

    2. Jill Guest

      What card is that?

      Alaskan Airlines card?

    3. JimT Guest

      Ok, what are the three cards? Most of our rewards are on no annual fee cards to but reaching three is a challenge.

  13. Pam Guest

    You might want to add over how many years it took to accumulate those accounts! (again for people hesitant to decrease their credit score with too many apps)

  14. Ken Guest

    Looks like you spend thousands and thousands of dollars in fees each year or they give you free cards as a perk

  15. Chris Guest

    Hey Ben,

    As much as I enjoy the articles on new card bonuses, how about an article, similar to this, that just talks about the long term usage once the 1st year romance period is gone.

  16. Jan Guest

    Your wallet so big it's designated as 1 carry-on luggage...
    Though I'm sure you don't bring all of them during specific trips

  17. Andrew Guest

    @Lucky: Do you not have the Citi+ Rewards card? I thought I remember reading an article about your 10% points rebate. Seems like a waste to have the prestige without it.

  18. Jim Baround Guest

    How do you not have Band of America Premium Awards card? $95 annual fee, $100 annual travel credit, minimum 2.63% back on all purchases?

  19. Klaus Guest

    Off Topic:
    @Lucky: just wondering: Are you in Hawaii? Asia?

    How comes that you are writing posts that late?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Klaus -- Hah, nope, I'm in the eastern time zone. I guess I do usually keep a very early schedule, but I don't think it's that unusually late for me to post, is it? Appreciate the observation!

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.

David Guest

Thanks for sharing an intimate peak into your wallet. I did the math (probably incorrectly!) and I calculated your AF total to be $4,941.00 I hope you've figured out a way to achieve that amount of savings, especially since some of the benefits are duplicated among your current holdings. Seriously, how many reimbursed TSA precheck applications does one need? Do you use a spreadsheet, or are you able to mentally keep track of when to use which card to maximize earnings and/or achieve spending thresholds? Inquiring minds want to know...

2
Points in PDX Guest

Ben, there are several unanswered questions in the comments from your Jan 18 post about how you use all of your cards. It would be great if you have time to respond!

1
Reno Joe Guest

Of the three keepers I mention above, two are no-annual-fee. Just worked out that way -- I wasn't shooting for that. The third has an annual fee, all but $75 of which is offset by statement credits. And, there's not a card benefit that's absent.

1
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