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One of the best ways to improve your travel is to maximize your credit cards. Signing up for the credit cards with the best welcome bonuses, using the right credit cards, maximizing credit card bonus categories, and taking advantage of other credit card perks can be included.
Applying for credit cards can affect your credit score, but there are many myths about it. My credit score is excellent and I have many credit cards.
In this post, I want to explain how applying for credit cards affects your credit score, then I want to talk about what goes into my credit card decision making process, and finally, I want to show you the cards I have open.
People wrongly think that applying for credit cards hurts your credit score. Applying for cards can help your credit score in the long run.
Some information about credit cards and credit scores can be found in the beginners guide on the website. I have a lot of credit cards and my credit score is close to perfect.
Here are the factors that affect your credit score.
35% of your score is your payment history (the percentage of payments you’ve made on-time)
30% of your score is your credit utilization (how much credit you’re using compared to your total limits)
15% of your score is your credit age (the average age of your open accounts)
10% of your score is the types of credit you use (how many different types of requests for credit you have)
10% of your score is your requests for new credit (how many times you’ve applied for credit)
The most important thing is that you pay your bills on time, don't use too much of your credit, and keep some cards, which will help you stay out of debt.
Your requests for new credit make up less than 10% of your score. Credit inquiries tend to fall off your report after a couple of years.
It is possible to close credit cards that are no longer working for you and still have good credit.
There are three things I look for when applying for a credit card.
Let me tell you what I have. So far this year, I have canceled one card and applied for two more, so I now have 30 open credit cards, which is the most I have had in a while.
The credit cards are broken down by issuer.
My nine American Express cards
Platinum Card® from American Express (review) — this card has a $695 annual fee (Rates & Fees), and offers many perks that help offset it, including Amex Centurion Lounge access, Hilton and Marriott hotel status, a $240 annual digital entertainment credit, a $200 annual airline fee credit, a $200 annual Uber credit, a $200 annual hotel credit, an up to $189 annual CLEAR credit, a $100 annual Saks credit, and more (some of these benefits require enrollment)
Business Platinum Card® from American Express (review) — this card has a $695 annual fee (Rates & Fees), and offers perks to help offset that; I signed up for this card when I received a great targeted offer
American Express® Business Gold Card (review) — this card has a $295 annual fee (Rates & Fees), and has a solid rewards structure; I signed up for this card when I received a great targeted offer
American Express® Green Card (review) — this card has a $150 annual fee, and offers all kinds of great perks, including 3x points on dining and travel, an up to $189 annual CLEAR credit, and a up to $100 annual LoungeBuddy credit
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express (review) — this card has a $95 annual fee, and offers 3x points at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 of spending per year, then 1x) and 2x points at US gas stations, plus a 50% points bonus when you make at least 30 transactions per billing cycle
Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card (review) — this card has a $125 annual fee (Rates & Fees), and offers an anniversary free night certificate on your account anniversary every year valid at a property costing up to 35,000 points per night, plus 15 elite nights per year, which more than justify the annual fee
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card (review) — this card has a $650 annual fee (Rates & Fees), and offers benefits that more than justify the annual fee, including Platinum Elite status, up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.), plus an anniversary free night valid at a property costing up to 85,000 points per night
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (review) — this $450 annual fee card offers incredible perks, including Hilton Honors Diamond status for as long as you have the card, an annual free night certificate, a $250 Hilton resort credit every cardmember year, and a $250 airline fee credit every calendar year
Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (review) — this card has a $0 annual fee (Rates & Fees), and I consider it to be one of the most rewarding business cards out there, given that it offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent every calendar year (then 1x)
There are two posts for the best credit cards for earning Amex points.
My one Bank of America card
My two Barclays cards
JetBlue Plus Card (review) — this card offers a 5,000 point bonus on the account anniversary each year, plus a 10% refund on JetBlue points redemptions, which to me justifies the $99 annual fee
AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard (review) — I picked up this card recently when it was offering a big bonus, but I doubt I’ll keep this card in the long run
My four Capital One cards
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (review) — this card has a $395 annual fee, but offers all kinds of amazing perks, including a $300 annual travel credit, 10,000 anniversary bonus miles, a Priority Pass membership, Plaza Premium lounge access, amazing authorized user perks, and much more
Capital One Spark Cash Plus (review) — this card has a $150 annual fee, and is currently my go-to card for everyday business spending, especially given that rewards can be converted into Capital One miles
Capital One Spark Miles for Business (review) — this card has a $95 annual fee (waived the first year), and offers 2x Spark miles per dollar spent, and Capital One miles can be transferred to airline partners
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card (review) — this no annual fee card offers many great benefits, the most exciting of which is a complimentary Uber One membership and 10% cash back on Uber and Uber One through November 14, 2024
There are two posts about the best credit cards for earning Capital One miles.
My 11 Chase cards
Chase Sapphire Reserve® (review) — this $550 annual fee card offers 3x points on dining and travel, a $300 annual travel credit, and lots of other great perks, including with DoorDash, Instacart, and Lyft
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (review) — this $95 annual fee card is the all around best business card, as it offers 3x points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases every cardmember year on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines; the card also offers a great cell phone protection benefit, rental car coverage, and more
Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card (review) — this no annual fee card offers 1.5x points on all purchases, so is one of the best cards for non-bonused business spending; points can be combined with Ultimate Rewards points earned on other cards
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card (review) — this no annual fee card offers 5x points on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases every cardmember year on office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services, and 2x points on the first $25,000 spent at gas stations and restaurants; points can be combined with Ultimate Rewards points earned on other cards
Chase Freedom FlexSM (review) — this no annual fee card offers 5x points in rotating quarterly categories, and these points can be combined with Ultimate Rewards points earned on other cards
Chase Freedom Unlimited® (review) — this no annual fee card offers 1.5x points in non-bonused categories, and these points can be combined with Ultimate Rewards points earned on other cards; I downgraded my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review) to this card in 2016
British Airways Visa Signature® Card (review) — this $95 annual fee card is well worth it to me thanks to all the benefits it offers, like 10% off British Airways flights, up to $600 in reward flight statement credits, and more
World of Hyatt Credit Card (review) — this $95 annual fee card is worth it for the five nights toward status annually, anniversary free night certificate, as well as the ability to put spending on the card to earn more elite nights and a second anniversary free night certificate
World of Hyatt Business Credit Card (review) — this $199 annual fee card was recently introduced, and offers a big welcome bonus, up to $100 in Hyatt credits annually, and more
IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card (review) — this card offers all kinds of great perks, including an annual free night certificate valid at any IHG hotel retailing for up to 40,000 points per night, a fourth night free on award redemptions, and a lot more
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card — this card offers an annual free night certificate valid at any IHG hotel retailing for up to 40,000 points per night, which more than justifies the card’s $49 annual fee; this card is no longer being issued
There are two posts for the best credit cards for earning Chase points.
My three Citi cards
There are two posts for the best credit cards for earning Citi points.
The above is a rundown of my credit cards. I would like to believe that most of these credit cards serve a purpose as part of my long-term credit card strategy, either because they offer an excellent rewards structure or because they offer perks that make the cards worth holding onto.
I plan on canceling a few cards at the account renewal, but I will deal with those situations as they arise. My credit score is excellent even though I have a lot of credit cards, which should make some of you at ease who are considering applying for a new card.
What number of credit cards do you have?
The rates and fees can be found in the links. The Platinum Card from American Express is one of the ones included.