The great card purge part 2: annual fee cards

Like I was saying here, the time has come for me to evaluate the many cards I’ve picked up in the last year, and dump a bunch of the fuckers before I have to pay the annual fee on them. (There’s no reason to close cards that don’t have an annual fee.) Most of these have an annual fee of around $95, but if I ain’t getting $95 of value out of keeping it, well…

Chase United MileagePlus Explorer: This was in some ways the card that started it all a few years ago, so I have a soft spot for it. But if you have United Premier Silver status, and the right Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards, then there’s nothing that the Explorer card does for you, other than waive the spending requirement for United Premier levels if you put $25,000 on the card in a year. But I seem to be doing spending on tickets to satisfy my United Premier status, so I can’t benefit from even that. What makes most sense is to convert it to the no-fee MileagePlus Rewards card, just to keep the account history open longer. Downgrade.

Chase Ink Plus Business: Even though I no longer use this card for our business, this card is no longer available for new applicants, so I’m holding on to it. Its $95/year fee allows me to get 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent at office supply stores and some online gift card vendors. Keep.

First Tech FCU Choice Rewards: This is a no-fee card, but I’m closing it because I might want to re-open it one day if I ever need a 12-month 0% APR, no-fee balance transfer — and I also have their Platinum Mastercard, so it’s redundant. Drop.

Barclay JetBlue Plus: I originally just picked this up with the intent to close it after a year, but at $99/year I might keep it, because one of its perks is 5,000 JetBlue points a year. That’s (sort of) worth $70 towards JetBlue flights, so the net cost of the card is (sort of) $29/year. And it lets me get 10% of the points back when I get award tickets on JetBlue. But I just blew all my JetBlue points yesterday, so I’d be starting from scratch, and if I close it, I can reopen it later to get the bonus again. Probably drop.

Barclay JetBlue Business: This is almost the exact same thing as the Plus, so I might or might not keep it for the exact same reasons. I think it lets me get another 10% back on an award booking, so holding the two cards for (sort of) $58/year might well be worth it if It means each point becomes worth 20% more. Probably drop.

Amex SPG: I picked this up for the bonus, and it does nothing for me except get me double when I stay at SPG’s, as well as keep my SPG points alive, which there are other ways of acheiving. Drop.

Amex SPG Business: I also picked this up for the bonus, and it while it gets me executive club access at Sheraton’s, IDGAF, and I get it anyway from my SPG Platinum status. Drop.

Chase Marriott Business: Same story as SPG, now that they’re the same company. Can also get bonus again in a year if I reapply, as it’s not under 5/24. Drop.

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select: I got this strictly for the American Airlines signup bonus, though having it does get a 10% rebate on the rare occasions where you can actually redeem an award ticket, up to 5,000 points. You’re kind of fucked with Citi cards, because if you close one, you can’t get another bonus for two years from the close date, and the same is probably true for downgrading to a free card, though no one knows for sure. So there’s a case to be made for hanging onto it for another year, but only if it’s possible to apply for another one before closing the first one, which might or might not be true; or if it turns out to be possible to downgrade without resetting the 24-month clock, which we don’t know yet; and if I do, that’s another 5,000 AA points that come back to me if I were to redeem 100,000 miles, which does offset it somewhat. But not that much. Probably drop.

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Business: Same same, see above. Probably drop.

Barclay AAdvantage Aviator Red: This is also an AA card. Got for bonus, no use otherwise, and want to be able to pick it up again. Drop.

Chase Fairmont: This card is being forcibly converted to a Sapphire Preferred, which could be worse. From there I’ll convert it to a Sapphire, and from there to a Freedom, which is no-fee. Downgrade.

Amex Business Gold Rewards: I already closed this card once, because we had moved on to Chase for our business spending, and three weeks later they offered me a ridiculous number of Membership Rewards points to reopen it. So, of course, I did, but there’s no way it’s worth $175/year to keep it open. Drop.

Amex Personal Rewards Gold: Got it for the signup bonus, does nothing for me otherwise at $195/year. Drop.

Amex Delta Gold Business: Got it for signup bonus; will probably drop in case I get lucky and get targeted again for another one (Amex cards are normally once per lifetime), though keeping it around for first bag free is worth considering. Probably drop.

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