Credit Cards

January Update: The major credit card reshuffle I’m planning for 2022

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My 2021/22 major credit card reshuffle 

01/10/22 Update

2021 was an incredible year of point accumulation and was the start of my major wallet reshuffle. My ambitions weren’t quite reached, but by the end of the year, I had 23 credit cards in my wallet – 8 ( 9 if you count Brex ) added in 2021 and well over 1 million points earned via welcome offers and referrals. I’m sitting at 4/24 having added 4 personal cards: Citi Thank You Premier, Chase IHG Premier and World of Hyatt, and Capital One Venture X.

The biggest surprise by far was the new addition of the Capital One Venture X – what I called a Chase Sapphire Reserve killer and multiple Amex Business Plat and Gold targeted offers. In fact, I’m sitting on another 150k Amex Biz Plat and 90k Biz Gold physical mailer offers that I haven’t accepted.

My goal of 2022 is to rotate in some of the cobrand cards, perhaps Chase Sapphire Preferred again after I downgrade my existing card to a Freedom Unlimited at some point. I would have loved to hit that 100k offer, but even at 60k I’ll most likely pull the trigger since it’s a very strong offer historically and would push me up and over the 5/24 mark. I’d been strategically staying under the limit just in case a premium chase business card was released – it was, and it’s a big disappointment from my perspective.

There is a ton of hype around BILT and even though I’m a homeowner I may add it to my wallet just to I can properly review and recommend the experience for other readers – their app is fantastic and I really think the people around the program are disrupting the marketplace in a good way.

Here’s what I currently have in my wallet – notes of when I picked up the card

9 American Express cards

3 Citi Cards

9 Chase cards

1 Capital One

1 Brex card

  • added in 2021 with 100k offer and 100k linked to PayPal offer.

 

Other cards I’d like to add in 2022:

  • Barclay Aviator Red
  • Barclay Aviator Business
  • BILT
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred ( once I’m eligible )
    • This would require me downgrading my current CSP to a Flex or Unlimited and then getting the CSP again after the 4 year mark
  • Chase Aeroplan credit card
  • Citi AA Platinum Select Personal
  • Citi AA Platinum Select Business

Offer dependent what I’d look to add in as well

  • Cap1 Venture
  • Cap1 Spark Miles with a giant bonus ( 200k and I’d be in )

October 2021 Update

It’s been a couple of months since I did an update on my wallet reshuffle and I’ve done some more moves. In July, as you can see further down in this post, I added 3 cards: Citi Thank You Premier, Amex Business Gold, and IHG Rewards Premier. We got married in August so I nailed those minimum spends without a whole lot of effort. Just as I was about to pivot into some American Airlines cards, I was targeted for another Amex Business Platinum. This time – 150k bonus after $15k spend in 3 months. I couldn’t resist and took the bait. I’m now sitting on 21 cards across three banks and Brex.

 

Updated 7/30/21

In July I’ve made 3 more moves to reshuffle my credit card deck and should be up to 19 total cards. You can read the moves I made in May, below, that required upgrading my Amex Green to Gold and Gold to Platinum as well as adding on another Amex Business Platinum. All of those minimum spend requirements are done ( thanks wedding and new home ) and I’ve made new moves for July. This puts me at 4/24 if my IHG card is approved which I expect it will be. Come October I’ll drop back down to 3/24 which should be great for potentially getting a Chase Sapphire Preferred again – should the offer be competitive.

  • I’ve added a Citi Thank You Premier to my wallet
    • The offer I applied with was spend $4k in 3 months and get 80k Thank You points
  • I was targeted for my 2nd Amex Business Gold
    • I was approved with a spend $10k in 3 months get 90k Membership Rewards
    • I’ll also earn 55k referral points with this card so it was a no brainer
  • I also applied for a Chase IHG Rewards Premier
    • The deal I applied for was spend $3k in 3 months get 150k IHG Rewards and no annual fee

Update: 5/30/2021

In May I made 3 moves that I list in the full article below – all with Amex

  • I upgraded my Amex Green to an Amex Gold
    • Spend $1k in 3 months for 15k Amex Points
    • At this point I don’t have any interest in adding an Amex Green back in, but I’m always flexible
  • I upgraded my Amex Gold to an Amex Platinum
    • Spend $2k in 6 months for 25k Amex Points
    • 10x US Gas and US Supermarkets for 6 months, up to $15k total
  • I accepted an Amex Business Platinum 100k Offer
    • Spend $15k in 3 months
    • I’ll also earn 55k referral points from this card
  • I canceled my Amex Platinum after upgrading my Gold
    • This was an old Mercedes Amex that couldn’t earn referral points so no referrals lost.

I’m in the midst of a move and have a lot of moving expense that made the timing for the Amex Business Platinum make sense. I anticipate adding in an IHG Premier with the new 150k offer sometime in June since I’m hopefully taking a honeymoon later this year, or early next year ( Covid? ) and the 4th night free alongside a fantastic welcome offer have enticed me into finally pulling that trigger. I’ll keep you updated as I execute this plan, but these are the moves I’ve made

  • Total Amex bonus Points gained from the move
    • 15k + 25k + 100k + 55k = 195k Amex points

Wallets need to align with your spending habits, travel goals, and budget. Since 2014, I have kept anywhere from 15 to 25 cards and I’m somewhere in that range right now. In any given year, I usually go through some sort of reshuffle depending on how benefits change, new offers that are available, and how annual fees fluctuate. In 2020… I didn’t cancel any cards and added in an additional Chase Ink Business Preferred and a Chase World of Hyatt card. Thus far, in 2021, the only card I’ve added to my wallet has been an Amex Business Gold. That is about to change in a major way.

My belief is we are on the precipice of a massive, once in a lifetime, travel boom. As people get vaccinated, the world will open up, deals will abound, and if you’re well positioned, you’ll reap the benefits. I already have a hefty amount of points stocked up, ready to deploy, but I’m also going to fine tune my wallet to reap even more benefits. Hopefully, my approach and thinking will be useful to you.

a man sitting in a chair with a stuffed animal

My Amex exposure

American Express is a program I have focused on building a lot of exposure to and currently I have these 7 cards. I think Amex is probably the best rewards program out there with over 20 transfer partners. I use them a lot, but I have the opportunity to tweak the following line up:

Over 20 Amex transfer partners

a group of logos
American Express Transfer Partners

I also have these upgrade and targeted offers:

The following offers all expire end of June.

  • Upgrade Green to Gold and get 15k points after $1k spend
  • Upgrade Gold to Platinum and get 25k points after $2k spend
  • Add a Business Platinum and get 100k  points after $15k spend

The Amex switch I’m looking to make

My Amex Platinum is a legacy Amex Platinum Mercedes. It doesn’t get any referral bonuses – that’s a loss of 55k a year. So, I’ve been looking to cancel it for quite some time, and either get a Charles Schwab version or get it without a welcome offer just to get the referral bonuses on the card. This seems like the perfect time.

  • Cancel my current Amex Platinum.
  • Upgrade my Gold to Plat
  • Upgrade my Green to Gold

My Amex Business Platinum offer doesn’t have any lifetime language attached to it and its targeted which makes me think it would hold up, and not get raked back. I also am in the midst of furnishing a new house so there are quite a few expenses we need to make. Hitting the $15k shouldn’t be a big deal if I time it right.

  • Add on an Amex Business Platinum
  • Keep my existing Amex Business Gold
  • Cancel my current Amex Business Platinum or downgrade it to a Amex Business Green ( keeping it for the referral bonuses)
  • Cancel my Blue Business
  • Keep my Blue Business Plus

My new wallet will highly resemble my old wallet without the Amex Blue Business. Except…I’ll have made an additional 140k points without adding to my 5/24 number. How could I not go for it? It’ll also give me 6 cards to refer off of  equating to 330 to 385k Amex points a year in referrals alone.

You can book ANA First Class for just 55k Virgin Atlantic miles. An unreal value.

an airplane seat with seats and windows
ANA First Class “The Suite”

My current Chase exposure

I love Chase Ultimate Rewards and have built a wallet to reflect that value. Currently I hold the following Chase cards and I have a Chase 5/24 number of 2. While there are cards from other issuers I’m keen to add – I need to make my Chase moves while I’m under 5/24.

Here’s a look at Chase’s transfer partner list:a group of logos with text

The Chase switch I’m looking to make:

The Wallet that I would like to have:

If you notice, the only thing that really changes is I lose the grandfathered Freedom, add in an unlimited, and a new IHG card

How I’ll go about achieving it

I’ve been holding off on getting a Freedom Unlimited purely because I keep a Chase Ink Business Unlimited. My most of my big expenses are business related, so I have my 1.5x card within the Chase ecosystem already and wanted to get a good welcome offer on the Chase Freedom Unlimited if I were to add it.

However, now, I’m not as bothered about getting a welcome bonus as I am about rotating my wallet around. You can apply that same reasoning as to why I haven’t converted my Freedom to a Freedom Flex. I wanted time to consider keeping the Freedom, adding in a Flex so I could have double exposure to 5x rotating categories. Plus, I wanted to get a welcome offer.

The curve ball. It’s been nearly 4 years since I got a Chase Sapphire card. In fact, my Chase Freedom is a 10 year old Chase Sapphire Preferred that I downgraded, and my current Chase Sapphire Preferred is a downgraded Reserve from 2017. In a few months, I’ll be past the 48 month bonus threshold.

Here’s what I’m thinking I’ll do:

  • Convert my Freedom to a Freedom Flex
    • This will give me the new bonus categories and Mastercard World Elite bennies
  • Downgrade my Chase Sapphire Preferred to a Freedom Unlimited
  • Later in the year, add in a Chase Sapphire Preferred again
    • hopefully the current 80k offer is still available or something similar
  • Strategically add in an IHG Rewards Premier when I think I’ll want to go to a Six Senses to get a 4th night free
    • I also have access to 4th night free since other family members hold this card and could book for me…it’s not as pressing a card to pick up.
    • I’m keeping my IHG Rewards Select since it gives me an additional 40k free night and 10% back on redemptions

I won’t be past the 48 month Sapphire mark for another 4 months so I can’t add more than 2 other cards to my wallet until then. However, I have another card that will fall off come October, so I think I’m pretty safe to add in a couple and fill that 5th spot come October-ish.

I’m looking forward to visiting more of the aspirational Alila properties that transfer partner, Hyatt gives me access to.

a man doing a yoga pose on a stone wall

The other cards I’d like to add to my wallet

There are several cards that I believe could add value to my wallet currently.

Citi

I currently have a Citi Prestige and Double Cash and I’m not sure I’ll keep my Citi Prestige after this year. But…I can’t cancel it since cancellations restart your 24 month Citi clock so I’d need to get the Citi Thank You Premier prior to doing that. I really want that card. Cancelling my Prestige will free up $495 ( $245 after the travel credit ) in annual fees

  • I’ll likely add a Citi Thank You Premier
    • I think this card is HIGHLY undervalued
  • I’d like to add in a personal and business version of the AA cards
  • All 3 of those cards would still save me roughly $80 in fees but add in a lot of points and benefits
a group of logos
Citi Transfer Partners

Cap1

I have no Cap1 exposure at all and I really think it’s going to be a program to watch. They have a phenom list of partners, better transfer ratios, and a rumored premium card coming to market. I also have a feeling that the 200k Spark Miles offer will come back, so fingers crossed. The biggest issue is how hard it is to get a Cap1 card. Minimum wait between cards is 6 months, so I’ll have to time that

  • Spark Miles when the 200k offer comes back
  • New Venture Premium card if it comes to market.

Remember that both personal and business cards affect your Chase 5/24 number.

a group of logos on a white background

Barclay

I’ve had the Aviator Red and Business version in the past.

  • I’d like to add both back into my wallet over the next 12 months.

In the next 12 months…what would my wallet look like?

  1. American Express Platinum
  2. American Express Gold
  3. American Express Green
  4. American Express Business Platinum
  5. American Express Business Gold
  6. American Express Blue Business Plus
  7. Chase Ink Business Preferred
  8. Chase Ink Business Preferred ( business #2 )
  9. Chase Ink Business Cash
  10. Chase Ink Business Unlimited
  11. Chase Sapphire Preferred
  12. Chase Freedom Flex
  13. Chase Freedom Unlimited
  14. Chase IHG Rewards Select
  15. Chase IHG Rewards Premier
  16. Chase World of Hyatt
  17. Barclay Aviator Red
  18. Barclay Aviator Business version
  19. Capital One Spark Miles
  20. Capital One new Premium Card
  21. Citi AA personal
  22. Citi AA business
  23. Citi Thank You Premier
  24. Citi Double Cash

Miles Credit Cards

Other cards I’d be interested to add in as well

Part of the reason I’m not as pressed about adding the following cards is because we have exposure to them as a two person team. The two Marriott cards earn 30 nights combined a year towards hitting Platinum status which is super valuable when it comes time to take a fun trip where status is valuable. We also have a Hilton Aspire which I strongly contend is the best cobranded card on the market.

  • American Express Hilton Aspire
  • American Express Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant
  • American Express Bonvoy Business
  • Bank of America Alaska personal and business cards
    • Alaska joined One World and their miles are even more valuable. How could I not reap the rewards?

This isn’t for everyone

I clearly run a business based on travel and extract a ton of value from the cards that I keep. But, having in excess of 20 cards at once isn’t for the unorganized and undisciplined. Nor is it for someone who doesn’t really enjoy keeping everything straight. I think we’re on the precipice of a major travel boom, so I’m looking to build my wallet up to enjoy the most benefits and rewards I can. Even with that many cards, paying over $3k a year in fees, is a net positive for me when it comes to value.

I’m purely putting this forward as an example of how I think, and use the system beneficially. My goal is that it will help you think about how you can do the same, and if that ends up being to this scale, that’s you’re prerogative, but at the same time, you could do is on a much smaller level and achieve incredible value.

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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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


4.8
4.8/5
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 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

*you may find an elevated offer walking into a branch – see below

Annual Fee

$95

Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • Earn 75,000 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℠
    • Some people have seen Chase branches offering the following:
      • 75k Ultimate Rewards After $4k spend in 3 months + 10k Ultimate Rewards after $6k in 6 months 
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 3x on dining, including eligible delivery services for takeout & dining out
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit via Chase Travel℠
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 2x on all other travel
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel℠ and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver ( primary ), purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 14 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in Chase Travel℠ for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver is my favorite
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024
  • $95 Annual Fee

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.

11 Comments

  • […] that is chalked full of new bennies and a $695 annual fee. I’m also in the midst of a credit card reshuffle. I keep anywhere from 15 to 25 credit cards at one time, and I tailor it every year to suit my […]

  • […] recently published an in-depth article on how I’m looking to re-shift my wallet in 2022. I keep 15-25 cards concurrently and this article gives further insight into how I will tailor it […]

  • Adam Jackson October 13, 2021

    Might be an odd question, but how do you have multiple cards that are the same. Like for example, you mentioned that you have two or three of one specific card, not just the business and personal, but three of that specific card. How does that work? How does one carry three Amex biz plat for example?

    • Miles October 14, 2021

      Hey Adam – great question. It depends on the card and issuer. For example, some banks will allow you to apply and carry multiple of the same card but restrict welcome offers. In the case of Amex Biz Plat – I received targeted offers to get another card. Additionally, if you were to upgrade or downgrade into a product that could create duplicates. For instance, I’d you carry a chase sapphire preferred and freedom unlimited, you could technically downgrade the preferred into a freedom unlimited and you’d hAve two. It’s case by case…

  • Cmorgan October 3, 2021

    Thanks for the update like you I have been taking advantage of the recent bonuses.

    1. 90 k bonus for AX business Gold
    2. 20 k for adding me to wife’s AX Plat
    3 67.5 k BofA AK Air Visa for wife
    4. 65k BofA AK Air Visa for me (2nd card)
    5. 60k Barclay AA Aviator MC
    6. 60k CITI Premiere MC
    7. 100k Barclay Jet Blue Bus MC
    8. Upgraded AX Delta Gold to Plat. Nice bonus.

    Looking ahead at another AX Plat ( Business version) . Perhaps the 150k pt offer with 15k spend. Possibly Cap 1 Venture. I will be off Chase naughty list soon so I will go after the SP at that time.

    I just transferred 285k AX Pts to Virgin Atlantic and got the 30% bonus. Looking to buy some ANA first class tics to Asia for next year. Also booked intl travel on Delta to Mexico, CP to Philippines and AA to Costa Rica.

  • Mehmet C May 31, 2021

    I can barely keep up with a few credit cards, bills and house budget. It is an achievement really to manage all those cards and thanks for the update

  • Al C May 30, 2021

    Have your MR points from your Amex Gold to Platinum upgrade posted? My bonus and 10x seem to be lost. So lame.

  • Elizabeth Kozlowski May 8, 2021

    Not sure if you have time to answer this question but I love the info you provide and would like your opinion. I currently only have chase sapphire reserve but am considering adding one more credit card. I spend mostly on groceries, gas, Amazon and restaurants. Which one would you recommend and what should I be charging on each of the cards?

    • Miles May 9, 2021

      Hey Elizabeth – I would check out the Citi Thank You Premier – it’s listed on my favorite credit cards and earns 3x on gas, groceries, dining, air and hotels. Pretty solid and has a $95 annual fee.

  • JeffP May 3, 2021

    Hey Zach…thanks for sharing. It is helpful to read what your plan is. My wife and I have three trips planned with your help on Amex referrals last fall. Leave for Greece June 2 on a work and pleasure trip!

  • Jeremy April 30, 2021

    I disagree with converting the Chase Freedom to Freedom Flex. You should wait for a SUB with it. Unless you really need that pharmacy coverage, I can’t see why you’d make that switch. I personally have 6 Freedom cards.

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