I want to make this post something that becomes relatively routine. While there are plenty of people out there that will tell you what the “best” or “hottest” cards on the market are, I am here to tell you the cards I have in my wallet and the cards I still want to get. This is not to say in any way that you should follow my lead, but I do hope that this will provide some sort of guidance towards your next steps in the world of travel hacking.
What’s In My Wallet Now:
Chase Sapphire Reserve
This is the staple card in my wallet (I only have 4 cards to my name, so it’s not very hard to garner this status). Right now this really garners all of my spend. As mentioned, I am trying to develop my credit, gain some points, and then start picking up more cards. I received the 100,000 points bonus, and since I am on the road a lot I am eating at restaurants instead of buying groceries. For that reason I always use this card to receive the 3x points on dining. For daily spending, this is and will be my go-to card.
Delta Gold American Express
I really only picked up this card for an exclusive 60,000 point sign-up bonus I was offered. I fly on Delta weekly, so I signed up for this card to boost my points. There is no real benefit to this card that I don’t already have. I get a free checked bag with my Silver Elite status (soon to be Gold), and I will end up getting SkyPriority boarding, which beats out Zone 1. Ultimately, I am paying $95 for a card that I put absolutely no spend on and receive no real benefit from, so cancelling it is a real no brainer.
Wells Fargo College Credit Card
I honestly could not even tell you exactly where this card is. I threw it in one of my many “clutter” drawers, and really haven’t thought about it since. The reason I wanted to include it on this list is because it is a very important part of my credit score. This is my first credit card, and thus my earliest request for credit. One of the factors in a credit score is the length of credit, so a rule of thumb for all credit is to keep your oldest card active until it runs out. This card has no annual fee, so it is really beneficial that I keep it open.
Cards I Plan on Adding to the Arsenal:
Chase Ink Business Preferred Card
There is a myriad of reasons why I think this is a good card. To start, there is an 80,000 point bonus after $5000 in purchases after the first 3 months. This card earns Ultimate Rewards, and more importantly bonus points on certain spend categories that the Chase Sapphire Reserve does not. So I am able to use this card to enhance my UR earnings. On top of that, it has a $600 cell phone theft and damage protection, as long as you pay the bill with your card (Oh, you’ll receive 3x points on that bill too!)
This is a small business card, and as a young professional with few other true sources of income, I feared I wouldn’t be accepted for this card. A little bit of research and I found that Chase doesn’t ask for an EIN to prove you have a business—in other words, any side business (Uber, ebay, Amazon, real estate, BLOGGING) all count as small businesses. And they should help me get this card.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
This is a card that I really should have in my wallet already. There is no fee, I was just weary of putting out another line of credit being so new to the game. This card is the final piece of my Chase Ultimate Rewards trio. I put all spending on my CSR currently, but a lot of those purchases (gas, groceries, etc.) end up receiving only 1 point on every dollar spent. This card earns 1.5 points on every dollar spent no matter what the purchase. So my plan is to continue using the CSR for travel and dining, and use this card for everything in between –ultimately just maximizing my earning potential.
Hyatt Credit Card
I have been going back and forth for a while about the possibility of a co-branded hotel card. The reason this one jumps out is for two reasons:
- Hyatt – I have stayed at all the big hotel brands, and Hyatt takes the cake. Not only is every one of their properties magnificent, but their rewards opportunities are some of the most lucrative out there.
- 1 free night every year after the first cardmember anniversary. The annual fee is $75, but the card offers a complimentary night in a category 1-4 property after the first year. This easily pays for itself with some Hyatt category 4 properties pricing out at $300.
Something a lot of travel hackers talk about is Chase’s 5/24 rule—a rule which has impacted many due to the popularity of the 100,000 point sign-up bonus with the Chase Sapphire. And maybe even more importantly, the downgrading of that bonus not long after. The gist of this rule states that anyone that has applied to 5 or more cards in the past 2 years (24 months), can not be accepted for a new Chase card.
For this reason I want to be weary with the cards I apply for. All the cards on my “wish-list,” are Chase products, and I’ve obviously talked a lot about my love for Chase Ultimate Rewards. While I don’t think there will be a card quite like the Chase Sapphire Reserve anytime soon, I do want to be weary that something else might come along.
The final leg…
There are so many wonderful offers out there, just waiting to help you on the next trip of a lifetime. So read my blog about getting started with credit cards, build some credit, and start collecting that arsenal of credit cards. Your wallet will thank you in the future.