By: Revanche

Wallet waistline: an effort to reduce bloating

February 16, 2007

I work hard, my credit cards should work hard for me, too! (Yup, I’m a deadbeat! Heehee) It’s time to evaluate which of the current credit cards should be switched out for cards that will yield more consistently useful rewards. I’d not intended to keep any of the new credit cards I got (solely for the points/miles bonuses) but I suppose they’re worth keeping during the fee-free year.

[Oh my lord, I hate trying to create a table in Blogger. I give up!]

Currently using ….

Card: Hilton Honors AMEX
Earning: 3-5 pts/$, for restaurants, cell phone
Primary Use: (wallet-worthy) Restaurants (5 pts), airfare (3 pts), cell phone bill (5 pts)
Rewards redemption: No redemptions yet, Total: 43,000 pts

Card: Chase Free Cash
Earning: 1 pt/$, for all purchases
Primary Use: (wallet-worthy) “Daily” use: phone bills, purchases, medical bills, etc.
Rewards redemption: Routinely $25 check for every 2500 pts

Card: Citi Driver’s Edge
Points: 3 pt/$, for gas, groceries, drugstores, 1 pt
Primary Use: (wallet-worthy) Gas, groceries, drugstores
Rewards redemption: Use for car maintenance as necessary

Card: Citi Dividend Select
Earning: 2 pt/$, for utilities
Primary Use: (stays home) Utilities: trash, water
Rewards redemption: None yet

Switching to ….

Card: Chase Cash Plus
Earning: 5 pts/$, for gas, groceries, drugstores; 1 pt/$ on regular purchases
Primary Use:
(wallet-worthy) Gas, groceries, drugstores, regular purchases (medical bills, shopping)
Rewards redemption: $50 check/5000 pts

Card: Hilton AMEX
Earning: 5 pts/$, for restaurants, cell phone
Primary Use: (stays home) Restaurants (5 pts), cell phone bill (5 pts)
Rewards redemption: Eventually I’ll need a Hilton Hotel room. Until then ….

Card: Starwood AMEX (until 12/07)
Earning: 2 pts/$, for Starwood purchases, 1 pt/$ on all other purchases
Primary Use: (stays home) Large expenditures like auto insurance
Rewards redemption: 20k points can be converted to 25k miles, or 10k/night at Starwood hotels

Card: CitiBizPremierPass (until 01/08)
Earning: 1 pt/$ plus 1 pt/mile flown, for airfare purchased with this card
Primary Use: (stays home) Airfare
Rewards redemption: Just adds to the TY pts pool

I like the idea of pulling out all three cards that I carry normally and replacing them with one or two cards. The Hilton AMEX was going to be retired but I decided it can stay for the sake of the Autopay cell phone bill because I’ll need to use those Hilton points eventually. I may as well have a slow trickle feeding that pool of points until I’m ready to redeem.

The extra 1% I’m getting from the Citi Dividend isn’t really worth it, though, and while having an extra cushion of auto maintenance money from the Citi Driver’s Edge is nice, I can get 2% more and in cash from the Cash Plus card.

The Starwood card is good because it nets an extra 25% when you convert the points into miles so it may be worth keeping on just because that’s an extra 5k miles I can get on United. Depending on the saver fares available, that 25k miles can either equal one free flight (roughly equivalent to $220) or 1.66 free flights = $360.

I may just use that Starwood card for all regular and large purchases and keep the Chase card for my gas/grocery/drugstore card. I’m still reducing the cards from 3 to 2, and I wouldn’t want to carry just one credit card because it’s best to have a backup card when you charge everything like I do!

So, what’s in YOUR wallet? Do you *hustle* the credit card companies too? 😉

2 Responses to “Wallet waistline: an effort to reduce bloating”

  1. Golbguru says:

    Hey for the tables, I can send you a text file with my tables (I used them back when I was using blogger). Just use that text file and keep changing your text in the required areas and it will work. Just email me if that sounds good to you.

    Btw,just a few thoughts…if you desperately need all four of them….the best way IS to get them at once so that you will get them all before it reflects on your credit score. But after a couple of months it will cause a major ding in your credit score…so plan ahead and make sure you won’t have any major borrowing requirement in the next year or so.

    Also, does the Hilton Amex card have an annual fee?

  2. ~Golb~ Oh, that would be great! I love tables and hate Blogger for making my tabling life impossible.

    I actually did my App-o-rama back in December so I already have all these cards on hand. I had intended to cancel ’em off once I played with my credit lines since I have a ton of cards from the AOR the year before last, but changed my mind.

    No, the Hilton Amex doesn’t have an annual fee, that’s why I’ve kept it for so long. Keeping the Starwood card (which does have an annual fee) is a little out of character but it seems that it may actually be worth my while if I use it enough to max those points to miles conversions. We’ll see.

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