UPDATED: What Credit Cards Are In My Wallet?

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Credit Card Inventory | What's In My Wallet | Cobalt Chronicles | Washington, DC | Travel Blogger

This article was first published in February 2018.  Updated August 2018.

I talk a lot about credit cards in my travel posts, but for good reason!  They’re the main reason that Michael and I are able to travel as much as we do!  We’ve figured out the points and miles game, and I want you in on the game too!  The crazy thing about opening credit cards to earn points and miles is that you don’t have to change a single thing about your current spending.  All those groceries, Uber rides, dinners out to eat … you’re still spending the same amount of money, you’re just getting something in return for your spend.  If you missed my post on the number one myth about opening credit cards, be sure to check out that post here!

Today I’m sharing my updated credit card inventory with you, including every credit card that I currently have in my wallet.  I’m also including details on why I’ve chosen to keep that card in my wallet (the perks) and what I use that credit card for, if I use it at all.

Credit Card Inventory

In total, I currently have eight credit cards open and in my wallet.  I’ve opened and closed others in the past, but these are my tried and true.  I broke the cards into two categories, personal and business.  Let’s jump in!

Personal Credit Cards

Chase Freedom

This is the OG card in my wallet.  The Chase Freedom was my very first credit card.  It’s a great card to start with because there’s no annual fee (you can compare all no annual fee cards here!) and you can start earring Ultimate Rewards points.

The two main reasons I keep this card in my wallet are the length of time that I’ve had it and the quarterly 5% bonus categories.  Credit history plays a big part in your credit score.  That’s why I like to keep this card around – I’ve had it the longest, and there’s really no downside to keeping it since there’s no annual fee!

Another perk of this card is the quarterly 5% bonus categories.  Each quarter there are different categories that you can earn 5x points on.  For example, this quarter, Chase is offering 5x points on each dollar spent at gas stations, Walgreens, and Lyft.  So for every $1 that I spend on Lyft rides (my Freedom card is linked to my Lyft account), I earn 5 Ultimate Rewards points.

I only use this card on purchases that are part of the 5% bonus category each quarter.

Chase Sapphire Preferred  Chase Freedom Unlimited

Last time I shared this What’s In My Wallet post, I had the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  The Sapphire Preferred is a GREAT card.  I only got rid of it because I wanted the higher tier card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve (and the sign-up bonus points that came along with it).  The Reserve carries a heftier annual fee than the Preferred.  The Preferred is a great addition to your credit card portfolio after you’ve started out with the Chase Freedom card mentioned above.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 2x on all travel and all dining purchases, period.  That’s where most of my spend goes so it made sense that I would want a card that earns double points on both of those categories.  The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card to have for earning points to use for travel because the Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to a number of different hotel and airline partners, many of which transfer at a one-to-one ratio (meaning one UR point equals one United mile).  You can read more on why the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for travel here!  Just note that post was written before I had the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

Another perk of using it for travel purchases is the travel protection that it offers.  Check out this post on how the card saved me around $500 after a missed flight!  For all other purchases outside of the 2x categories, the Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 1x point per dollar spent.

Check out the Chase Sapphire Preferred and how it compares to other credit cards here!

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card does carry an annual fee of $95, which is waived the first year, but the perks far outweigh the fee!

Chase doesn’t allow you to have both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve at the same time.  So I opted to product change my Sapphire Preferred to the Chase Freedom Unlimited card so that I could open myself up to applying for the Chase Sapphire Reserve.  Check out this post on how to switch from the Chase Sapphire Preferred to the Chase Sapphire Reserve.  There are a few steps you need to go through to make sure you receive the sign-up bonus when applying for the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

You can fully compare the two cards (and apply for either) here!

Ok – onto the Chase Freedom Unlimited.  I product changed my Sapphire Preferred to the Chase Freedom Unlimited.  This is a great card to have in your wallet!  Check it out, along with other similar cards, here!  It is similar to the Chase Freedom in that while you do earn Ultimate Rewards from purchases made on the card, the URs are only transferable to Chase partners if you have a higher tier card (the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve).

There’s no annual fee on the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the biggest perk, it earns 1.5 Ultimate Rewards on every single purchase.

For that reason, I use this card for my everyday, personal spend when the spend isn’t eligible for any of the bonus categories offered by the 5x Chase Freedom categories or the 3x Chase Sapphire Reserve categories (travel and dining).  Check out how the Chase Freedom Unlimited compares to other cards (and apply for it) here!

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 3x on all travel and all dining purchases, period.  That’s where most of my spend goes so it made sense that I would want a card that earns triple points on both of those categories.  The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a great card to have for earning points to use for travel because the Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to a number of different hotel and airline partners, many of which transfer at a one-to-one ratio (meaning one UR point equals one United mile).

The annual fee on this card is hefty.  It’s $450 per year.  HOWEVER, the perks of this card heavily outweigh the annual fee!  First, the Sapphire Reserve offers $300 per year in travel credits.  Basically, as soon as you purchase an airline ticket, take an Uber, or stay in a hotel, those charges will be credited back to your account until you hit the $300 limit.  That alone puts the annual fee at $150, only $55 more than the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Another perk of using the Sapphire Reserve for travel purchases is the travel protection that it offers.  Check out this post on how the Sapphire Preferred card, which offers the same protection, saved me around $500 after a missed flight!  For all other purchases outside of the 3x categories, the Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 1 point per dollar spent.

Check out the Chase Sapphire Reserve and how it compares to other credit cards here!

AmEx Starwood Preferred Guest *See asterisk note below. 

Aside from Ultimate Rewards points earned on the Chase cards mentioned above, in my opinion, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Starpoints are the next most valuable currency in the points and miles game.  I mentioned why I love the SPG card and Starpoints in this post!  Essentially, Starpoints are like UR points in that they transfer to a number of different airline and hotel partners.

I like to keep a big bank of UR points and Starpoinis for this reason.  I use this card for everyday spend (spend that I would normally put on my Chase Sapphire) when I’m needing a bump in my Starpoint stash.

You can compare the AmEx Starwood Preferred Guest card with other hotel branded cards here!  Make sure to take note of the awesome sign-up bonus!

*The SPG program underwent major changes on August 1, 2018 due to the Marriott/Starwood merger.  I’m working through the strategy on whether it’s worth keeping this card open.  Here’s a great article on the new rules and newly merged program.

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier – Closed June 2018

I originally signed up for this card as part of my strategy to earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass (read more about that here and here).  However, I don’t use this card anymore.  There is a $99 annual fee on the card, but I receive 6,000 Southwest miles every year on my card opening anniversary date.  That’s essentially a one-way flight on Southwest, so I keep the card open as it also helps with my credit history.

I’d only recommend getting this card if you’re trying to hit the Companion Pass threshold of earning 110,000 points in a calendar year.  The sign up bonus counts towards that amount.

You can compare this credit card with others here!  Note: Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to see details on the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card.

* I closed this card in June 2018 as the bonus points were no longer worth the $99 annual fee (to me).

Business Credit Cards

Chase Ink Business Preferred

The current sign up bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first three months is hard to beat.  The URs earned on this card can be combined with the URs earned on the Freedom and Sapphire cards!

The Ink card earns 3x points per dollar spent on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, and phone services, advertising purchases on social media, and search engine optimization.

I keep my business and personal expenses separate, so I put all of my work travel for the blog and my contracts business on this card.

Check out the perks of the Ink card in comparison with other business cards here!

Chase Ink Business Cash

I recently added this Chase business card to my collection.  If you have a higher tier Chase card (Sapphire or Ink Business Preferred), the sign-up bonus is worth 50,000 Ultimate Rewards.  There’s no annual fee on this card, which makes it a no brainer.  I also love this card because it offers 5x Ultimate Rewards on all office supply store purchases and internet, cable, and phone services.

I use the Ink Business Cash card for all office supply store purchases and my internet and cable bill.

You can compare the Chase Ink Business Cash card to other business cards here!

AmEx Blue Business℠ Plus

The AmEx Blue Business Plus is my newest card.  I’m pretty stocked up on Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  My new strategy is to start banking AmEx Membership Rewards points.  Like URs, Membership Rewards are transferable to AmEx travel partners like AirFrance and Etihad.  Check out this post for more information on how to redeem AmEx Membership Rewards.

There’s no annual fee on this card.  The major perk of the AmEx Blue Business card is that it offers 2x Membership Rewards on every single purchase.  I use this card for all of my business purchases that are outside of the bonus categories offered by the Chase Ink Business Preferred and Chase Ink Business Cash cards mentioned above.

You can compare the AmEx Blue Business Plus card to other business cards here!

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business

Similar to the personal Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card mentioned above, I originally signed up for this card as part of my strategy to earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass (read more about that here and here).  Until I jumped on the Chase Ink business cards, I was using this card as my main business credit card.  It makes more sense to earn Ultimate Reward points with the Ink cards than earn Southwest miles with the Southwest Business Card.  I no longer use this card, and I’ll likely close it out soon.

I’d only recommend getting this card if you’re trying to hit the Companion Pass threshold of earning 110,000 points in a calendar year.  The sign up bonus counts towards that amount.

And that’s a wrap!  My goal is to be super transparent with you on what cards I use for what purchases in order to earn the most points possible to put towards travel.  If it weren’t for point earning credit cards, I seriously wouldn’t be able to travel like I do!  As a side note, you should never open a credit card if you are not financially able to pay off the statement every single month.  I do not carry a balance on any of my cards.

Questions?!  Feel free to comment below or email me at cobaltchroniclesblog@gmail.com!



Disclaimer: If you click and/or sign up for a credit card through certain links on this site or any of my related social media platforms, I may make a commission from that click through.  The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are mine alone.

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