- Centurion Member
- Posts: 4047
- Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 7:42 pm
- Location: United States
I'm a lot more focused on rewards and customer service than APRs and CLs. If a bank offered me a card with a $10,000 limit and no rewards, I wouldn't be interested at all.
CLIs are good, but I wouldn't care much about getting one on a card for which I didn't have any real purpose.
I suggest making a list of your regular spending categories (as well as infrequent major transactions like a vehicle or special travel, and an 'other' category). Then try to identify your first-choice card to use in that situation. Consider not just rewards but also any inconvenience (like random declines you have to call to fix, handling a dozen frequent flyer programs, etc) and the typical quality of customer service.
Weigh any annual fees against the frequency of using a card and the value that card has in that situation compared to the best alternative. Make logical and reasonable compromises in complexity to try to knock out a few cards. You may lose a few dollars in rewards but will have an easier time tracking everything. You probably don't need multiple airline cards, but making sure you have one chipped no-FTF card could be important. Hopefully, by this point, a few cards should stand out as obvious winners and losers, with a few in between.
When I do this, Sallie Mae and Arrival+ become screamingly good deals. Freedom, It, BCE, and TrueEarnings are well worth having but not quite as important. PRG becomes pretty unattractive. Try to settle on having enough different issuers so you're not too dependent on any one, but don't have more to monitor than you want. Tracking 3 cards with one good issuer is easier than tracking cards with 3 different issuers.
Try to figure out if you'll want to use MR points a lot. If you like them, then waiting a bit and upgrading to an EDP could make a lot more sense than looking for cards with 2% and 3% cash categories.
Once you have a list of the cards you want, it will be easier to work towards it. When I see your list, I and others can suggest what you might close.
And yes, card benefits do change. My set of ideal cards has changed upon seeing Amex charge benefits trimmed. But when most of your cards have some clearly defined use and financial justification, finding a solution is easier.
Very useful: SchwabPlat, CSP, IHG, Costco (was AA Plat), Freedom, SPG
Somewhat useful: Discover, ED (was EDP), BCE, Hyatt, Arrival
May close or PC: Prestige, BrooksBros
Might add: Proper business card, CSR, Ritz, Delta Gold, First Tech