Cards in my wallet worth the annual fee

29

I currently have 32 active credit cards in my name.  Many are no-fee cards, so I’ll keep them indefinitely.  With the others, I’ll make a decision when the annual fee comes due: keep, cancel, or downgrade.  Since I’ve been thinking about this, I figured it was worth sharing my thoughts on a wide array of cards.  Of the cards I have which have annual fees, which ones are worth keeping?

Keepers

  • Amex Delta Reserve $450: Keep for SkyClub access, annual companion pass, and ability to earn Delta elite status through spend.  Note: If you are not chasing Delta elite status, but want the airport lounge benefit, you might be better off with a regular (non-Delta) Amex Platinum card.
  • Amex Delta Platinum $150: Keep for annual companion pass, and ability to earn Delta elite status through spend.
  • Barclaycard US Airways MasterCard $89: I have two of these cards and plan to keep them both.  Barclaycard regularly offers great deals for bonus points (e.g. “spend over $750 per month for 3 months and get 15,000 bonus points”) and gives a 10,000 mile annual anniversary bonus which alone is worth the annual fee.  It will be interesting to see how long these cards survive after the AA / US Air merger.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred $95: This is actually my wife’s account, but I am an authorized user with my own card.  Keep for spend bonuses (2X travel and dining) and 7% annual dividend.  Also, my wife doesn’t like to juggle many cards, so I think this is a great one for her to defer to for virtually all spend.
  • Chase Ink Plus $95: I don’t really need to keep an Ink Plus (or Ink Bold) since I could do just as well with a free version (Ink Cash or Ink Classic) combined with my wife’s Sapphire Preferred (see above).  However, Chase has been so good to me with the Ink Bold and Ink Plus cards that I feel like I owe them something.  This is more of a gut decision than a rational one.
  • Chase Priority Club $49: Keep for annual free night at any IHG property worldwide (e.g. Intercontinental London Park Lane!), Platinum status, and 10% rebate on awards.
  • US Bank Club Carlson Premier Rewards $75: Keep for annual 40K bonus points, 5X everywhere spend, and Bonus Award Nights that make points almost twice as valuable. (Note: The Bonus Award Night feature was discontinued as of 6/1/2015.)
  • US Bank Club Carlson Business Rewards $60: Keep for annual 40K bonus points.  Other features are great but redundant with the personal card (above).(Note: The Bonus Award Night feature was discontinued as of 6/1/2015.)

Undecided

  • Chase Marriott Rewards $85: This card offers an annual free night at category 1 through 5 properties, so it ought to be a no-brainer to keep, but with recent Marriott devaluations I simply don’t know if I’ll really use it for a high-value stay.
  • Citi AAdvantage Visa $95: I’m tempted to keep at least one of my AAdvantage cards for the 10% rebate on awards (up to 10K rebate per year).  Depending on how many AA miles I use each year for awards, the rebates could easily be worth the annual fee.  I don’t otherwise fly often on American Airlines and when I do it is usually because I’ve redeemed British Airways Avios for short-haul flights.
  • Citi ThankYou Premier $125: I never use this card, but I might keep it anyway because it gives me the ability to use ThankYou points for 1.33 cents per point value towards flights.  Since I rack up lots of ThankYou points with my Citi Forward and Preferred cards, this is a valuable benefit.  I’m not sure it’s worth $125 per year though!  I’ll probably cancel, but hope for a good retention offer.

 

Cancel or downgrade

  • Amex Platinum Mercedes-Benz $475: Great perks, but not worth the steep fee to me (others may find it well worthwhile, though).
  • Amex Premier Rewards Gold $175: This is the best card for earning Membership Rewards through spend (3X flights; 2X gas and groceries), but I don’t pay for many flights, and I do as well or better with other cards for gas and groceries.
  • Chase Ink Plus $95: I have two of these so I might as well cancel or downgrade one of them.
  • Chase Ink Bold $95: I’ll probably cancel my two Ink Bold cards, as long as I keep an Ink Plus.  Since the Ink Bold is a charge card it can’t be downgraded to the Ink Cash or Ink Classic (both of which are credit cards).
  • Chase British Airways Visa $95: If I could come up with a good use for the Travel Together ticket (which requires $30K spend) I would probably keep this card, but I don’t see that happening in the near term.  I love this card’s signup bonus and its 1.25 Avios per dollar rewards, but I just have too many other cards vying for my wallet.
  • Chase United MileagePlus Explorer $95: This is a very good card for United travelers who do not have elite status, but I rarely fly United so it is unlikely that I would get $95 value per year from this card.
  • Citi AAdvantage American Express $95: I have three AA cards which have mostly redundant benefits.  No reason to keep more than one.
  • CitiBusiness AAdvantage Visa $95: See above.

 

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