Credit Cards

Why you should think of credit cards like the cast of “Friends”

a group of people drinking from straws

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Credit Cards = FRIENDS 🙂

Yes, I view credit cards, and how they work in my wallet, like the cast of “Friends.”

Why? One of the biggest mistakes I see people consistently make when it comes to credit cards is they use the wrong cards!!!. So….thinking of your credit cards like the cast of Friends solves this problem.

You wallet should be comprised of two kinds of cards:

  1. Main Cast
  2. Supporting Cast

Using each of these different kinds of cards to achieve your travel goals properly will help you earn more and better points, get more value from your cards, and ultimately having you spend more time flying in like this:

Etihad Apartment booked with American Miles

a seat in an airplane

Don’t forget we keep a spreadsheet of all the best offers on cards whether we make a commission or not! We only publish the best offers. 

 

Friends has its main cast of characters:

These characters are in every single episode. You love them, you tune every week to see them, and you build a relationship with them over time.

  • Ross
  • Rachel
  • Phoebe
  • Joey
  • Chandler

a group of people drinking from straws

Friends also has its supporting cast of characters

These characters pop in for some comedic relief, or stir up some drama. You may love them, you may hate them, but they serve a very specific purpose and they aren’t overly used. Rather than have a deep relationship with them, they’re more of an acquaintance.

  • Janice
  • Gunther
  • Jack and Judy Geller
  • Mike Hannigan
  • Mr Heckles
  • Mr Treeger

a man and woman with credit cards

Your wallet should mirror Friends with its own main and supporting cast

Main Cast of Credit Cards

Your wallet should have its own main cast, the cornerstones of your wallet. These are credit cards that you use every single day and on the vast majority of your purchases. The only time you aren’t using these cards is when you’re hitting a minimum spend on a new card, or strategically using a supporting cast card mentioned below. They should have the following qualities:

  • They earn transferrable points
    • These points can be transferred into partner programs
  • They earn category bonuses
    • You should have cards that earn bonus points on categories where you spend the most
    • Gas, Supermarkets, Dining, Etc
  • They have benefits that are more valuable than the annual fee
    • Tally up the credits and benefits and they should be worth more than the annual fee costs you
  • They team with other cards in the program
    • For instance, The Chase Sapphire Preferred® and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® can combine points. Same goes for Capital One cards, Citi cards, and Amex cards.

The best programs for Main Cast are as follows:

As you can see below…they have a TON of transfer partners

Here’s a list of my favorite Main Cast credit cards ( My Ross and Rachels )

Personally I think if you have 2 or 3 of these across the different programs you’re doing great. If you rotate these, or hit new offers when they are all time high, great…but make sure you always have 2 or 3 to achieve a minimum 2x blended points per dollar.

What you’re looking to do is earn points that can be transferred into as many partner programs as possible so when it comes time to redeem, you’re able to generate points in the program with award space to your destination.

My top:

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American Express

Bilt Rewards Master Card

Capital One

Chase

Citi

I transferred Chase points to Hyatt to stay at the Alila Villas Bali

a pool in a house

Here’s a list of my favorite Supporting Cast Cards ( My Gunther and Janices’)

The only time I really pivot spend to a supporting cast card is when I’m hitting minimum spend on a welcome offer/bonus, or if I’m spending on the airline, hotel, etc that the card is associated with point wise.

I also move these around a lot depending on what I think I may do travel wise in the year. If I don’t think I’ll fly American much, I’ll either downgrade or cancel the card ( always try to move your credit line within the bank to another card). Same goes for hotel cards if I don’t think I can use the benefits, I’ll look elsewhere. However,  hotel cards often include free nights and since I travel so much I’ll usually make use of them and keep the card cause they often outweigh annual fee cost.

The point I’m trying to make: use these strategically, and rotate them based on the value they serve you. Don’t silo your points into a single airline or hotel currency.

You want to use these cards for the following reasons:

  • Elite status, or boosts for elite status
  • Free annual night certificates at the hotel chain of your choice
  • Perks
    • Free Bags
    • In flight discounts

My top picks ( I’d say most people can get by with 2 or 3 of these )

This is going to be different for every person, and it will depend on the airline you love most, the hotel you prefer, etc. A lot of people go for the Southwest Companion Pass when it’s a perk, but this is what my wife and I currently hold:

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American Express

Bank of America

Barclay

Capital One

    • I don’t really like any of the non-main cast Capital One cards

Chase

Overall – you don’t need 25+ cards like me

You wallet should be a weapon with its sights set on incredible, aspirational travel. Curating your wallet to achieve your goals is paramount in turning those dreams into reality, and one of the easiest ways to understand how to organize your wallet and allocated your spend is separating them into two categories: Main Cast and Supporting Cast.

If you do this, keep some cards long term, rotate cards in and out depending on if they give you value…you’re way ahead of the game. I think keeping a few main and a few supporting and maybe adding or substracting 2 of 3 every year will unlock one or two big trips every 18 months to help you unlock your bucket list.

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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4.8
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based including Hyatt, Southwest, United, IHG, and Marriott.

Welcome Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

Annual Fee

$95

Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
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    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
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We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is exceptional starter card and offers transferrable Ultimate Rewards, and pairs well with other Chase cards.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex®  and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash® , Ink Business Unlimited® you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

4 Comments

  • Lyana February 15, 2024

    I see that you keep a Marriott Bonvoy Biz card from Amex and a Ritz Carlton card. Did you get them 24 months apart? And do you ever close them and be open again? I have a Marriott Bonvoy boundless card, but realize that since I’ve had it for under a year, I cannot get a SUB for the Bonvoy Business card. And same thing if i product change it to the RC card. Is my understanding correct?

    • Miles February 15, 2024

      Hey Lyana – Yes, we waited 24 months between offers, and unfortunately you wouldn’t qualify for the Marriott Bonvoy Biz until the 24 months passed. We did upgrade our Boundless into Ritz Carlton after a year for the benefits which once you’re over a year you could upgrade to if you wanted.

      • Lyana February 15, 2024

        Thank you! That makes sense. I guess I might have to skip this one for now. The Boundless card is a keeper for me even if I don’t change it to Ritz Carlton. But if I do, I could potentially get this business card after 24 months. And then have to wait another 24 months before I can open a Boundless card again (if there is a good offer), correct? Is that something that’s smart to do if Marriott hotel stays fit into our life needs?

  • Christian February 14, 2024

    What’s Friends?

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