- Centurion Member
- Posts: 234
- Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:04 pm
- Location: Texas
I exclusively use cash back cards (I'm not interesting in any travel points because I don't and don't want to travel). So for me, I do just maximize the percentage I'm getting back. I have a couple of rotating 5% cards that I'll use first for 5% if it's in category spending and I haven't hit the quarterly cap. Then I have a cards that always get a fixed 3% or 2% on certain categories that I'll use if I can't get 5% on these things. Then finally I have some 2% everything cards that I'll use in lieu of the other two options. Last, I have 1 card with subpar .5-1% rewards that I use if I'm feeling iffy about a merchant or site, and I don't keep it in my wallet with my other cards, so it's sort of an 'emergency' card if I lose my wallet or get robbed or something.
Beyond the reward maximizing, my favorite reason for using multiple cards is that I very much like to put different types of expenses on different cards. I just naturally like to categorize my expenses this way and I find it very helpful for quickly seeing at a glance how much I've been spending on a given category. So while I might be getting 2% regardless, I'll put one type of expense on card A, another type on card B, and a third type on card C - and yeah the rewards come out the same either way, but I greatly prefer dividing it up like this and restricting certain expenses to certain cards. That's just my personal preference though, and it's the exact opposite of the 'simplicity' model a lot of other people seem to prefer. I actually prefer to do something similar with my deposit accounts and save/invest for different things/ways based on the account. I just naturally dislike all my assets and expenses lumped together in one or two accounts.
There can be benefits to lumping everything together such as potentially qualifying for better rates on asset accounts or concentrating rewards on credit accounts...but for me personally these benefits rarely outweigh my natural preferences.
Another general advantage of using multiple cards is of course that different cards offer different benefits. Of course it's best to pay your CC bills in full every month to avoid interest, but if you're not able to, you might benefit from having a low fixed rate card. Alternatively you may want to get some of the extended warranty protections CarefulBuilder mentioned, or price-rewind benefits. You may want a card that offers good balance transfer options. You may want a card that offers certain perks like VIP access to lounges, concierge service, trip cancellation insurance, car rental insurance waivers, etc. But all of these are different perks and benefits and you probably won't be able to get them all on the same card. So if a mixture of these benefits are important to you, it makes sense to have the options in place and use them as needed.
There's also the benefit of having other fallback options if you experience fraud on one account, or forget to activate a new card, or accidentally leave it at a restaurant or bar or something. If you have multiple cards it's no big deal to just grab another and then work on resolving the bigger issue. These things have all happened to me personally and I've really appreciated not having it actually interfere with my life and spending.
A less compelling IMO but still potentially valid reason is network acceptance. Most merchants take all major credit cards, but you still find places that won't take Amex or won't take Discover, and very very rarely but still sometimes places that won't take MC or Visa. If you can just use a different card from a different network, this isn't a problem.