A Peek Inside My Wallet
If utilized property, credit cards can provide lucrative rewards in return for normal household and/or business expenditures. Sites like Million Mile Secrets , Nerdwallet and The Points Guy (all of which I love reading) provide a fantastic level of insight into the card options that exist and the benefits to potentially be had.
But I realize not everyone gets as excited as I do about credit card rewards. For one, it’s a bit tough to stay on top of it all as the industry is constantly changing and evolving. Secondly, credit cards just aren’t right for some people. You have to be the type who is disciplined about paying off your card every month in order for this to be a profitable, stress free venture.
However, since I am a tad obsessed with this stuff, I thought it would be fun to give you the inside scoop on which cards I currently own and why. Also, what might be in my wallet in the near future.
Here’s a look at the 8 credit cards currently in my wallet lineup, listed alphabetically and with a description of the benefit they provide.
This is the go-to card for gas, groceries, streaming and transportation, which covers quite a bit of ground! Although it does have a $95 annual fee, the 6% earned on groceries and streaming services, and 3% earned on gas and transit purchases quickly add up. Over the course of a year in use, my wife and I tallied right at $330 in earnings. After the fee we were net positive around $235. This is a higher return than what could be provided through other card options.
This card has a 4% award rate on restaurants, so it is meant to be my go-to card for all things dining. However, as I have used the card over the past few months (since October), I have been continually disappointed by the categorization system AMEX has in place. Nearly 1/3 of my restaurant purchases have been miscategorized, negating my 4% benefit. I have called twice now to have many of the purchases corrected, but that is an ongoing hassle I’m not crazy about. As of late, I have went back to using the Chase Sapphire Reserve for restaurant purchases.
If you have an Amazon Prime membership, having this card as a pairing is a no-brainer. With a Prime membership the card has $0 annual fee and kicks back 5% cash on all Amazon (and Whole Foods) purchases. It was an easy decision to include this in the arsenal.
This is the current card I use for Ntellivest and the reward structure is quite simple: no annual fee and 1.5% rewards for all purchases. What’s great is the fact that I can transfer these points to my Chase Sapphire Reserve, making the points worth 50% more (or 2.25% overall).
Used for my rental property business, this card provides me a nice mix of benefits: no annual fee and 5% back on office supplies, internet, cable and phone services. Like the Chase Ink Business Unlimited (above), I can transfer points to the CSR which boosts the 5% reward to 7.5%. Needless to say, this is the go-to card for office supplies, internet and phone.
Hands down, this is my favorite card of the 8 in my wallet. The CSR delivers so many benefits it’s hard to highlight them all in succinct fashion. Here are the primary benefits that I love: 3% back on restaurants/bars/cafes, 3% back on travel, credit for TSA Precheck and Global Entry, Priority Pass lounge access, a plethora of travel protections, and a 50% boost when points are used for travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards (which realistically makes the 3% categories 4.5%). When combining points from the Chase Ink Business cards, I should never have to pay for a hotel (and most flights) in cash again. Ever! It’s the Swiss Army knife of travel cards.
This is maybe the most dependable card in the arsenal. It earns 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% when you make your card payments, giving it a 2% overall rate. It’s about as simple a card as you can get (and I love simple). For all purchases that don’t fall into a bonus category with any other card (gym membership, clothing purchases, etc.), the Double Cash card picks up the bill.
Going on 10 years strong, this is the longest standing card in the lineup. And for good reason. Each quarter Discover rotates categories of spending (groceries, restaurants, shopping, etc.) that will receive a flat 5% cash back benefit. Add this to the 0% annual fee and top of the line customer service, there is no reason to remove this card from my collection.
ON THE HORIZON
Here are the future card adjustments/acquisitions I’m looking to make to my wallet.
Looking to Potentially Add
American Express Business Platinum: The airline perks (5% back and Global Lounge Collection access) for this one even outweigh those of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, making it a possible future addition. But with the steep annual fee ($595), I am holding off for the time being.
Capital One Savor Rewards: A simple 4% cash back on dining and entertainment (covering nearly all possible categories of entertainment) make this card compelling and a possible replacement for the American Express Gold card.
Capital One Venture Rewards: While the Chase Sapphire Reserve has more lucrative overall travel benefits, the potential 20% back on hotel purchases with the Venture card (through it’s partnership with Hotels.com) give it extremely serious appeal.
Looking to Potentially Remove
American Express Gold: Although I love how this card looks in my wallet (the rose gold limited edition is very sharp), I will likely be cancelling it if the AMEX categorization system (as outlined in the summary above) doesn’t improve. I’ll give them through the end of summer before potentially saying adios.
What favorite cards do you have in your wallet? Are you utilizing the full potential of your purchasing power? If not, maybe it’s time to do some spring cleaning within your credit card collection.