Optimizing My Credit Portfolio

For just about anything you want to get off your chest about credit cards.
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MrMosby
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Optimizing My Credit Portfolio

Postby MrMosby » Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:20 pm

I'm thinking about "optimizing" my credit portfolio, right now I typically charge about $3-4K monthly and pay it off in full each month. The majority of that goes on my American Express Platinum and when some place does not accept AmEx I use my Chase Freedom.

The downside is I haven't traveled much in the last 2 years (My current job travel is sporadic I could go a year with no trips, and have a year where I travel multiple times in a month.) so I'm not truly seeing the benefits of the $450.00 annual fee, but I also look at it as insurance when I buy electronics, rent a car, etc...

So I'm debating on potentially closing both Amex cards and maybe my Discover card (which I rarely use), and then opening a Chase Sapphire Preferred to do the point stacking and still get some travel benefits.

Since I pay everything off in full each month closing cards should have a minimal impact on my credit, and if I open a Chase Sapphire the available credit there would also hopefully offset anything I close (or at least part of it).

One other option would be to upgrade my Citi card to a MasterCard World Elite card as well and skip the Sapphire.

So with that, I'd love to get some candid/unbiased feed back on whether this would be a good or bad idea. It looks like the Visa Signature cards have a lot of the same "features" as the American Express platinum card on paper, but in real life experience how do they compare? i.e. if I bought an iPad and it broke how would my experience compare with the extended warranty replacement with Visa versus Amex versus MC World Elite.

Ultimately I want to maximize my rewards (my wife and I want to save them up to maybe use them for a vacation), but I don't want to sacrifice excellent customer service nor have the features not live up to their hype.
Everyday Preferred $45K | Amex Platinum NPSL | Delta Platinum $30K | Chase Sapphire Reserve $74.5K | Discover IT $42K


MrMosby
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Postby MrMosby » Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:50 pm

Bump......
Everyday Preferred $45K | Amex Platinum NPSL | Delta Platinum $30K | Chase Sapphire Reserve $74.5K | Discover IT $42K

MrMosby
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Postby MrMosby » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:02 am

Well since no one responded I decided to build out a jumbo Excel spreadsheet.

Before I was putting everything on my AMEX platinum - I wasn't traveling much though so I wasn't using those benefits. With all things considered equal I paid -$264.94 in annual fees in 2012.

So I decided to close my AMEX Platinum and upgrade my AMEX BCE to a BCP. I'll use that card for Gas/Groceries (unless it's a quarter when those will fall into my 5% categories on my Chase Freedom) or anything I might want the AMEX Warranty Coverage On .

I'll use my Chase Freedom for everything else (at 1.1% Cash Back and 5% on Bonus Categories).

If I would have done this in 2012 I would have actually had netted $728.74 cash back. Ultimately this change will save me about $1000 a year.

When I know I'm going to have to travel internationally again I'll likely pick up the Chase Sapphire Preferred to avoid the foreign transaction fee (and pick up the extra 1% on restaurants, which will be a wash with the annual fee).
Everyday Preferred $45K | Amex Platinum NPSL | Delta Platinum $30K | Chase Sapphire Reserve $74.5K | Discover IT $42K

Sevenfeet
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Postby Sevenfeet » Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:33 am

Sorry for missing this one.

I'm in a similar situation. I carry an Amex Platinum and my wife and I had been using it as the primary purchase card for years. The problem is that Membership Rewards isn't the best deal for us and our priorities versus just cash back other products. Unlike you though, I want to keep the platinum around since I travel for a living and that card is instant access to the Delta Sky Club. There are also vacations every so often where it comes in handy.

What may be a better option for you is to downgrade it to a Amex Gold Rewards card. The annual fee is much lower and you still get the benefits of having your card account open for as long as you have. You canal ways ask to upgrade again later if your needs change and it might be easier to get another Platinum down the road instead of having to do an entire new application.
Cards:
American Express Platinum (NPSL)
Penfed Platinum Reward Visa ($28K)
Chase Freedom Visa ($25K)
Fidelity American Express ($20K)
American Express Blue Cash Preferred ($20K)
Bank of America Cash Rewards MasterCard ($20K)
Citi Thank You Preferred Visa ($9.5K)
Chase Sapphire Preferred ($7.5K)
US Bank Cash + Visa Signature ($7K)
Discover IT ($4K)

MrMosby
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Postby MrMosby » Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:30 am

I did that math on that, if I did PRG I would NET $66 cash back.

For traveling the best option for me (Since I don't do a ton of it) Would be the Sapphire+Freedom+BCP and I'd net $681 with my current spending (would probably do a little better with the extra 2% earned for traveling on Sapphire).

The PRG perks aren't significantly better then the BCP. They definitely aren't my oldest account either, and since I'm only in my late 20's I don't have to worry about them falling off my credit report and dropping my score since they aren't near the longest I've had accounts open for (They'll still aged closed until they fall off).

If I ever have the need I could open a Platinum card again later and with American Express's backdating policy would work out to be fairly beneficial to me.
Everyday Preferred $45K | Amex Platinum NPSL | Delta Platinum $30K | Chase Sapphire Reserve $74.5K | Discover IT $42K

Sevenfeet
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Postby Sevenfeet » Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:38 am

Must be nice carrying a Platinum card in your 20s. I thought I was hot stuff getting a Gold card at age 24 back in 1989. :)
Cards:

American Express Platinum (NPSL)

Penfed Platinum Reward Visa ($28K)

Chase Freedom Visa ($25K)

Fidelity American Express ($20K)

American Express Blue Cash Preferred ($20K)

Bank of America Cash Rewards MasterCard ($20K)

Citi Thank You Preferred Visa ($9.5K)

Chase Sapphire Preferred ($7.5K)

US Bank Cash + Visa Signature ($7K)

Discover IT ($4K)

MrMosby
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Postby MrMosby » Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:10 am

I think it was a combination of starting early with credit and Citi's predatory lending practices when I was in college (everytime I maxed out my card they just gave me a higher limit, fortunately I worked and never made a late payment).

Now both my wife and I have stable well paying jobs, and in the last couple years I have paid off all of my 15K of card debt.

I definately learnt some things the hard way but no I can reap the benefits of great rewards and high limits.
Everyday Preferred $45K | Amex Platinum NPSL | Delta Platinum $30K | Chase Sapphire Reserve $74.5K | Discover IT $42K

FutureBillionaire
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Postby FutureBillionaire » Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:22 am

That's good stuff MrMosby. I'm happy things worked out for you.

I'm going to go with the BCP/freedom/csp combo as well for travel and whatnot. I should get plenty of free flights and hotel visits.
Gas: Discover It, Penfed Platinum Rewards x2, Chase freedom, Citi TYP
Plane tickets: CSP
Groceries: AMEX BCP, Penfed Platinum Rewards,Citi TYP
Clothes: Express, Amex BCP, Discover IT
Amazon: Citi Forward, Cash +
Restaurants: Citi Forward, Chase Freedom, Discover IT, CSP
Hotels and other travel: Discover Escape, CSP
Movies: BofA travel rewards visa signature(fandango), Discover IT, Citi Forward, Freedom
Bars, clubs, tomfoolery: CSP, Citi Forward, Discover IT, Freedom
Balance transfers: Kroger 123 rewards
Bill Pay: Chase Ink Plus, Citi Forward
Everyday spending: Bofa Accelerated cash rewards amex, Discover Escape

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Calipso
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Postby Calipso » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:29 pm

Why would you close the discover? It has no AF. You don't need to use it consistently.
My Limits:
NFCU NavCheck: $15,000/NFCU Platinum: $11,500/NFCU nRewards: $8,000
Chase Freedom: $6,500/Chase Slate: $6,000/CSP: $5,000/Marriott Rewards Primier: $5,000/United MileagePlus Explorer: $5,000/Southwest Primier: $3,000
Citi Hilton HHonors: $9,700/Citi Simplicity: $8,200/Citi Forward: $5,500
AMEX Blue Cash Everyday: $8,000/SPG AMEX: $5,000/AMEX Everyday: $5,000/AMEX Delta Skymiles Platinum: $3,400
Discover IT: $7,700
Barclay's NFL Extra Points (Carolina Panthers): $5,000
DCU Platinum: $3,000
RTN FCU CC: $2,000
CCCU Platinum Rewards Visa: $2,000

Current total limit: $129,500

MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:27 pm

If you Google the Amex Concierge vs Visa Sig, you can get some "real world" (supposedly) experiences. From what I've read the Visa Sig actually came out better in the comparisons I read. But of course someone else will say something different.

I haven't actually ever had to use the extended warranty, yet, so I can't comment on that. Amex is known to be very consumer friendly so I doubt anyone beats them there. That's honestly about all they have going for them anymore, it's sure as hell not the great customer service I can personally testify to that. Maybe Platinum and Centurion are different than what they give us low lifes with the Gold and Blue Cash Preferred though.

Based on what you've said, the CSP is probably a better option with a much lower annual fee and comparable benefits.



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