Carried Cards -
Target Card - 5% at Target - no AF -
Citi AT&T Access More - 3 points for online travel, AT&T, online retail.
Citi Prestige - 3 points for airlines, hotels, 2 points for dining & entertainment. Has AF of $350 ($450 for most).
- This card has some great perks that offset the AF. Another benefit is the 4th night free benefit, plus some great travel insurance. It also is the card that lets us transfer Citi's Thank You points from the AT&T cards and increases their value to 1.33 cents/1.6 cents per point (which are otherwise worth 1 point = 1 cent).
Fidelity Visa - 2% off everything - $0 AF.
- This is a good general card for misc spend not covered elsewhere, medical bills, utilities, etc. It's also my only carried visa.
Specific Uses -
US Bank LAN Airline Card - Some minor perks. Has AF of $75.
Chase IHG Credit Card - Decent points if you stay at IHG & Plat Elite Status. Has AF of $49.
Sears Card - Only keep it open because of a long credit history. No immediate uses unless its an emergency appliance purchase or Sears has a crazy promotion.
Fidelity Cash Management Debit Card - The only use for this really is international travel for $0 ATM access.
PenFed Promise - Longish credit history, no real use other than 0% FTF visa.
Citi Dividend - PC'd to this from an older Citi card. Long credit history, so no real reason to close. May try to PC it later to a 2nd AT&T card or if I can justify a Citi Premier's annual fee.
Chase Amtrak Card - We're thinking of some more train travel, this one might be useful (plus great earning for Choice hotels).
Amex Old Blue Cash - I've not pulled the trigger on this because I don't have an immediate use for it, it would be more as backup if the AT&T cards had their rewards changed. Would also give me access to Amex special offers & has some great categories.
Wow, that is a lot of cards !
So interesting how we have such different shopping habits and your list would make just about no sense for me - almost never shop at Target, never buy any AT&T services, never stay at IHG. You are paying a lot of annual fees. You must be a pretty big spender to be able to justify all of them. Can't fathom paying $350 on that Prestige card. Can you explain what makes it worth this annual fee in more detail ?
I used to have a Sears card - it got me $200 off on an appliance when I signed up. Never used the card again, after 4 years of inactivity, Citi cancelled the card.
Every good rewards card strategy probably has a centerpiece built around either Grocery, Office Supply, or Pharmacy. Why these? You can still find 4-6% categories for them, they're relatively easy to frequent (grocery is obv. easiest), & they all sell gift cards. If they sell gift cards (especially ebay gift cards), you essentially expand your rewards options to every single store you can buy a gift card at. Most people won't want to go crazy with 10-15-20+ cards, and are looking for 2-6ish max, so my advice is to pick an eco-system built around this centerpiece card.
Gift cards are easy to lose/lose track of, and things you buy with gift cards won't be covered by typical credit card benefits, like extended warranty. There are sometimes setup fees with them, and inactivity fees after a while, as well, that encourage you to spend them faster than you might otherwise, in order to avoid the time those fees come due, or simply avoiding forgetting about them.
Funny how I do just about zero spending on office supplies, grocery (mine come primarily from Costco, thus not "grocery store" merchant category), or pharmacy - our prescriptions come from my HMO and I can't buy them elsewhere (well, not unless I want to pay the full $60k/year retail cost) ; and OTC meds primarily come from Costco, so I very rarely visit drugstores - only outside Costco business hours. I don't recall ever having a card that offered specific rebates on grocery, office supply, or drugstores, for that reason.
I do buy some prepaid coupons at Costco for certain things, like movie tickets vouchers, fairly similar to gift card. The discount is usually worth it. Yesterday though, I was shorted 1 ticket on a purchase of 10 sets of 2 tickets of Cinemark tickets at Costco. 9 of the sets were 2 tickets stapled, but the last one was a loner, that had never been stapled. Cashier counted 10 sets. Now I need to go back tomorrow to Costco to plead my case that they gave me the wrong number. I don't suppose this will go over well.
Tip for those who buy Cinemark movie tickets : Costco stores recently increased the price of Cinemark tickets from $16.98 to $17.99 for a set of 2.
Turns out that if you buy Cinemark e-tickets from Costco.com, the price is $33.99 for a set of 4, still the same as the old price per ticket. You do have to print them yourself. I don't know if Cinemark will scan them from your phone. Or buy a set of 10 paper tickets for $84 and have Costco ship them for free.
If I had to move away from Citi, I'd probably pick US Bank or BoA.
Also have to say that Citi and BoA are the institutions I have had the most problems with before in terms of customer service.
I especially hate dealing with the Citi call center people; with long hold times; terrible voice line quality; impossible accents; and never-ending transfer to another person. Which would be forgivable if you never had to speak to them, but I had reasons to do so many times in the past. Which is why I no longer had any card with Citi since they closed my Sears card mentioned above. Now, I have a Citi Costco VISA since they converted my Costco Amex recently. I have yet to make a single transaction on it. The rewards may be better on it, but I still don't look forward to using it. I drive 83% electric miles in my Volt, consuming under 60 gallons of gas per year, so the 4% on 50 gallons of premium gas per year is not very meaningful - about $7/year in rewards on gas, vs $3.5/year if using my Fidelity 2% VISA.
The 3% on travel is also not overly useful, since they charge a 3% (!!!) foreign transaction fee, and 100% of my travel is international. Yes, I sometimes buy tickets from a domestic airline, but often buy them directly from a foreign airline.
The 3% on dining on the other hand may make it worth using the card at some point since we spend closer to $6000/year on that. 1% extra vs the Fidelity 2% VISA would be $60/year - not meaningless. But I'm still not sure. Restaurant bills are usually the ones I have to call about, when there are overcharges on restaurant tips that doesn't match what we learn.
If I never have to speak to a Citi call center person again, it will still be too soon. Also, if I ever have my wallet lost or stolen again (later case happened last year), I would have to talk to Citi again, and that's also another good reason not to carry the card in my wallet. I think it will go to back to my safe (not sock drawer), and I will just carry my Costco membership card, which isn't as big of a deal to ever have lost/stolen.
My one and only experience with BoA was with a bank account where they failed to pay a signup bonus for. If BoA ever wants to get me as a customer again, they will have to pay me upfront next time. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. BoA pretty much lost me as a customer for life with their bogus promotion.
No issues with US Bank before, but their terms just weren't very competitive except for CDs back when interest rates meant something, so I no longer have a relationship with them.