The 30 Credit Cards In My Wallet Right Now

The 30 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 30 credit cards that I have right now

Now let me share what cards I have at the moment. I have 30 open credit cards right now — so far this year I’ve canceled one card and have applied for two cards, so I now have the most cards I’ve had in quite some time.

Below 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, and this post for my American Express card strategy.

I love the free night certificate on the Hilton Aspire Card

My one Bank of America card

The Alaska companion fare is super useful

My two Barclays cards

  • 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
  • AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard (review) — I picked up this card recently when it was offering a big bonus, but I doubt I’ll keep this card in the long run
The JetBlue Plus Card saves me points every time I redeem

My four Capital One cards

See this post for the best credit cards for earning Capital One miles, and this post for my Capital One card strategy.

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, and this post for my Chase card strategy.

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, and this post for my Citi card strategy.

The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card offers an Admirals Club membership

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 (31)
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  1. Jason Brandt Lewis Guest

    Just from what you wrote above, it appears to me that you get MORE benefits from the Citi Prestige card (now closed to new applicants) than from the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Could you elaborate why you are thinking of downgrading to the Citi Premiere?

  2. henare Diamond

    I won't lie: that looks exhausting af. I know it's easy for you to do all these since you get to write off the annual fees and maybe you have the time to enjoy the perks, but I like @Lee's question elsewhere in this discussion: boil it down to three cards in your daily rotation and three cards in your sock drawer for special occasions.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      I wouldn’t say it’s *easy* for Ben, but it’s his business to have/review/encourage you to apply for lots of credit cards.

      But that’s an interesting suggestion for future posts.

      “The three credit card package for [a particular type of user]” Lather/rinse/repeat. Ben, you can thank me later.

  3. KK Guest

    It is very possible that these are cards between 2 people with authorized users.
    My husband & I have 11 cards between us & I am CONSTANTLY deliberating others to apply for. Yes, we pay $1200/yr in annual fees but the benefits AT LEAST offset what we pay. For that we get 4 free nights/yr at IHG properties, $300 travel credit (on ANY travel purchase), 8 free SWA upgrades, 12K SWA points ($180 value),...

    It is very possible that these are cards between 2 people with authorized users.
    My husband & I have 11 cards between us & I am CONSTANTLY deliberating others to apply for. Yes, we pay $1200/yr in annual fees but the benefits AT LEAST offset what we pay. For that we get 4 free nights/yr at IHG properties, $300 travel credit (on ANY travel purchase), 8 free SWA upgrades, 12K SWA points ($180 value), plus excellent travel insurance that even covers Med Evac--not to mention all the points we earn for travel (we put EVERYTHING on cards & pay the off monthly; we take advantage of any bonus charging categories that we can).

  4. Airfarer Diamond

    I only have five. Amex Gold, Chase Preferred, BA, AA and UA. I've had them for decades. I'd like to venture into Ben's multiple card world to get some miles but pretty sure something would go arwy.

  5. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

    Ben, you have several "anchor" CC's on your report (from your parents history) and also several early CC's of your own (teenage years/18, etc.) Most of your readers started the Credit game MUCH later than you (I was in my late 20's and now at 36 my oldest card is around 8 years old). I now have 7 cards (9 if you count store cards) and when I open up a new one, it SEVERELY...

    Ben, you have several "anchor" CC's on your report (from your parents history) and also several early CC's of your own (teenage years/18, etc.) Most of your readers started the Credit game MUCH later than you (I was in my late 20's and now at 36 my oldest card is around 8 years old). I now have 7 cards (9 if you count store cards) and when I open up a new one, it SEVERELY affects my average age of credit, and for 6 mtns to a year my score is lower. I've opened 3-4 of those through your links and am very happy where I'm at on my credit/rewards journey (and thankful for your guidance). But it would also be helpful to see the full picture for the "average consumer". I wish I could get a card on my credit history that was older than I am, but that's just not possible for me.

  6. David Guest

    Can you do the math and let us know what your average points per dollar is on all spending combined?

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      The expression “Not enough hours in the day…” comes to mind.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      The word "dinosaurs" comes to mind.

      6 banks, 30 cards. Probably few hours coding for the 6 banks. few mins per card for a data dump to spreadsheet, an hour coding in Excel.

      For someone with a bit of experience, very doable in 8 hours, and another 16 to spare for the rest of the day. Likely a modest cost to hire someone to do this project.

      However, the project is likely a waste of...

      The word "dinosaurs" comes to mind.

      6 banks, 30 cards. Probably few hours coding for the 6 banks. few mins per card for a data dump to spreadsheet, an hour coding in Excel.

      For someone with a bit of experience, very doable in 8 hours, and another 16 to spare for the rest of the day. Likely a modest cost to hire someone to do this project.

      However, the project is likely a waste of time and money. The average doesn't really mean anything at all since your spending profile is likely different than others. Same as the 3 card covering 90% theory it might fit your profile, but correlation isn't causation.

      You could be spending thousands per month while others is spending hundred of thousand.
      You could be spending 20 times more in a bonus category than non bonus while others are spending evenly in every category.

  7. Lee Guest

    I saw a comment to a different article a while back saying something like 90 to 95 percent of the theoretical maximum points attainable from ongoing spending are captured by only three well-picked cards. A fourth card adds only 2 to 4 percent. I tried it in my own situation and found it to be the case. Of course, the specific cards will differ for each person. (This excluded sign-up bonuses.)

  8. Lee Guest

    Ben, imagine limiting yourself to keeping only three credit cards that you carry with you (in your real wallet). And, imagine keeping only three "sock drawer" credit cards that you actually use but don't need to carry with you. What would those be?

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Why leave money on the table with only 3 cards in the "sock drawer"?

      I don't get some of the comments here, you either maximize your returns or sacrifice them for simplicity. No need to handicap yourself for an arbitrary number "3".

      But to entertain all these not so useful question.
      The least complicated 3 cards that maximizes return is probably a 5% category cashback card.
      So get
      1. Elan Max Cash

      Why leave money on the table with only 3 cards in the "sock drawer"?

      I don't get some of the comments here, you either maximize your returns or sacrifice them for simplicity. No need to handicap yourself for an arbitrary number "3".

      But to entertain all these not so useful question.
      The least complicated 3 cards that maximizes return is probably a 5% category cashback card.
      So get
      1. Elan Max Cash
      2. US Bank Cash+
      3. Citi Custom cash

      Very simple, yet all are 5% category of your choice cash back.

    2. Lee Guest

      Simplicity is where I'm going with this. As a practical matter, at what point is the juice not worth the squeeze? Referring to my other comment, after 3 or 4 cards (wallet+sock drawer), the incremental value of each added card becomes smaller and smaller. For me, if a given card does not add $X of incremental value relative to my existing set of cards, I pass on it.

      The three cards you pick are interesting....

      Simplicity is where I'm going with this. As a practical matter, at what point is the juice not worth the squeeze? Referring to my other comment, after 3 or 4 cards (wallet+sock drawer), the incremental value of each added card becomes smaller and smaller. For me, if a given card does not add $X of incremental value relative to my existing set of cards, I pass on it.

      The three cards you pick are interesting. Typically, such cards have dollar limits on the 5% rate and cannot scale. Such cards typically have foreign transaction fees. While you note the 5% earn rate on these cards, the earn rate doesn't present the whole picture. What about the redemption rate with which it would be combined to achieve an overall reward rate? When I seek cash back from a card, I look for an overall reward rate of 7.5%+.

      But, what if a person's objective is not cash back? What if a person's objective is transferable points? And, what card(s) might one have for travel? Without foreign transaction fees?

      And, so, I've asked Ben what his choices are. I'm not suggesting that the cards Ben picks are those that anyone else should pick. I'm just asking Ben.

    3. Eskimo Guest

      And exactly my point of this is a not so useful question.
      You bring up,
      -such cards have dollar limits
      -have foreign transaction fees
      -redemption rate
      -I look for an overall reward rate of 7.5%+.
      -what if a person's objective is not cash back

      These are all 'your' requirements specific to 'you'.
      The 3 cards I picked is as plain generic and simple as it gets, and you...

      And exactly my point of this is a not so useful question.
      You bring up,
      -such cards have dollar limits
      -have foreign transaction fees
      -redemption rate
      -I look for an overall reward rate of 7.5%+.
      -what if a person's objective is not cash back

      These are all 'your' requirements specific to 'you'.
      The 3 cards I picked is as plain generic and simple as it gets, and you don't like it a bit.
      Your requirements is counter to what you're expecting, simplicity.

      Not Ben nor anyone can really tell you 'at what point is the juice not worth the squeeze?'

      What Ben and others can help you is you giving "your" exact spending patterns, credit profile, and expected redemption. We could then suggest you how to 'squeeze the juice' after that it's up to you to decide what point is the juice not worth the squeeze?'

      Ben never suggest anyone to hold the same cards. But his choice is pretty clear, why limit the cards when you can pick 30 cards. He even gave reasons to pick each.

      But to entertain all these not so useful question, again. (which probably is not what you want to hear, again) but bounded by your new constraints
      1. Citi Prestige
      2. Citi Double Cash
      3. Citi Rewards+

    4. Lee Guest

      Two guys are sitting at a bar. One asks the other what three songs he likes the best . . . or the three movies. You interrupt the conversation and say that this is not a useful question. Why would someone limit himself to only three songs or movies? And, the three songs or movies the one person likes are going to be different from the songs or movies that any other person likes. So,...

      Two guys are sitting at a bar. One asks the other what three songs he likes the best . . . or the three movies. You interrupt the conversation and say that this is not a useful question. Why would someone limit himself to only three songs or movies? And, the three songs or movies the one person likes are going to be different from the songs or movies that any other person likes. So, it is inappropriate to even ask the question.

      I simply want to know Ben's choices for his situation. Not what he thinks is appropriate for anyone else. Just him.

      And, to be clear, at no point did I ever ask you about your cards or your situation.

  9. XPL Diamond

    What I look for in a (one, singular) credit card:

    - An issuer with a reputation for treating customers fairly. Strange that credit card reviews don't mention that, yet it ought to be the single most important criterion. It's your money and credit rating that's on the line, after all.
    - No annual fee. It's just a credit card, not some snooty club I'm joining to show off.
    - Simple, no-effort-needed cashback on...

    What I look for in a (one, singular) credit card:

    - An issuer with a reputation for treating customers fairly. Strange that credit card reviews don't mention that, yet it ought to be the single most important criterion. It's your money and credit rating that's on the line, after all.
    - No annual fee. It's just a credit card, not some snooty club I'm joining to show off.
    - Simple, no-effort-needed cashback on all purchases. Life is too short to be mucking around with points that can be devalued or with shifting reward categories.

    And that's all. I get it that some people enjoy the gamification of everything and more power to them. But I'll take simple, thanks.

    1. DC Guest

      I ask out of pure curiosity (and truly am not being snotty with the question)- then why are you spending time reviewing and commenting on these sites that are points and miles focused? It seems to be the focus of most of them. Do you find you get enough value on flight/ lounge/ hotel reviews that it's still worth it? truly just curious.

    2. XPL Diamond

      I appreciate the question; have a "helpful" vote! I love travel (even business travel, which I suppose makes me a freak) and find OMAAT to be a great source of travel information. Although my free agent approach to airlines, hotels, and payment options serves me well, I don't mind OMAAT's points & miles focus.

      Re-reading my earlier message I see that it was singularly unhelpful to anyone inspired to read Ben's article, and if there...

      I appreciate the question; have a "helpful" vote! I love travel (even business travel, which I suppose makes me a freak) and find OMAAT to be a great source of travel information. Although my free agent approach to airlines, hotels, and payment options serves me well, I don't mind OMAAT's points & miles focus.

      Re-reading my earlier message I see that it was singularly unhelpful to anyone inspired to read Ben's article, and if there was a "withdraw post" button I would use it. I'll try to be more on topic and thanks for provoking these thoughts.

    3. Lee Guest

      You want a simple cash back card with no annual fee. Fair enough. Do you travel outside the US? If yes, then it will not be so simple. You will need a cash back card with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. Pray tell, what's your card?

    4. XPL Diamond

      I live and travel mostly outside the U.S., so yes, a card with no foreign transaction fees is a must for me. My card is the Premium CashBack+ from State Department Federal Credit Union. Being issued by a credit union you'll have to join, but that is possible even if you don't qualify by employment and it gets you better customer service than you'll get from some commercial banks.

      No points, no miles, not...

      I live and travel mostly outside the U.S., so yes, a card with no foreign transaction fees is a must for me. My card is the Premium CashBack+ from State Department Federal Credit Union. Being issued by a credit union you'll have to join, but that is possible even if you don't qualify by employment and it gets you better customer service than you'll get from some commercial banks.

      No points, no miles, not many perks, just a boring 2% back on everything, so it's probably not what most readers here are looking for. But I did want to answer your good question.

      https://www.sdfcu.org/premium-cash-back

    5. Lee Guest

      XPL, based on your comments, here's one to consider:
      https://www.penfed.org/credit-cards/pathfinder-rewards-visa
      Best of luck.

  10. Never In Doubt Guest

    Drastically simplified the Doubt family cards in 2022.

    AMEX Platinum for flights, occasional AMEX hotels.

    Amazon Prime VISA for Amazon.

    BofA Preferred Rewards VISA for everything else.

    I’m mostly out of the game now, but still enjoy reading about it vicariously through OMAAT!

  11. Daniel B. Guest

    @Lucky: Sorry if I missed it, but do you fully pay off all your credit cards BEFORE their statements close?

  12. John T Guest

    Here's a question for you Ben - surely you don't carry a wallet around with you with 30 credit cards in it? If you lost it or were robbed that would be like a full days work to cancel all the cards.

    Do you use Apple Pay/Google Pay instead?

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      I’m sure “In my wallet” is a figure of speech.

  13. Anonymous Guest

    These are VanageScore I believe, not the real FICO score. My real FICO score is always 50 points less.

  14. Dr. McFrugal Guest

    Hey Ben,

    Instead of downgrading your Citi Prestige to the Citi Premier, why not downgraded it to Citi Rewards+ and apply for a new Citi Premier to get the extra 80,000 TY points?

  15. Rick Guest

    This article cracks me up!! 30 credit cards and roughly $6k/year in annual fees? I'm not sure there was a card you didn't mention nor does this remotely relate to the "Average Joe". Even your credit score is unrealistic to ALOT of people. Thanks for giving information about each card?

    1. John T Guest

      I imagine he would write off all the card fees as a business expense.

      I do agree this article is not very useful for the 99.99% of people who would not wish to have 30 credit cards.

    2. NFSF Gold

      The article is not for people who want 30 credit cards. It's a list of cards that Lucky finds useful and uses and readers may find a few are useful for them.

    3. Chris Guest

      Seems silly to have a bunch of cards that do the same thing. The Amex Green gets a Clear credit so does Platinum and the Green gets 3x for restaurants but Gold gets 4x - so why have the Platinum, Green, and Business Gold when the regular Gold and Platinum does the same as all three? Save yourself five bills.

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DC Guest

I ask out of pure curiosity (and truly am not being snotty with the question)- then why are you spending time reviewing and commenting on these sites that are points and miles focused? It seems to be the focus of most of them. Do you find you get enough value on flight/ lounge/ hotel reviews that it's still worth it? truly just curious.

2
Never In Doubt Guest

The expression “Not enough hours in the day…” comes to mind.

2
Lee Guest

You want a simple cash back card with no annual fee. Fair enough. Do you travel outside the US? If yes, then it will not be so simple. You will need a cash back card with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. Pray tell, what's your card?

1
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