- I have almost 30 credit cards, and I go through them periodically to make sure each card is worth keeping — especially for cards that charge an annual fee.
- Every year I close a few cards that I’m not using like I should be, and open more that might be better fits.
- But cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, even with a $450 annual fee, provide me so many ongoing benefits that I’ll never close them.
When you have over two dozen credit cards like I do, it’s crucial to periodically go through the collection and make sure that each card is worth keeping — especially for cards that charge an annual fee.
Every year, I close at least one or two credit cards (and open several others). However, there are some cards that I’ve decided are worth keeping for the long term, even if they have an annual fee.
Those five are the:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- The United Explorer Card
- The World Of Hyatt Credit Card
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
- Citi® Double Cash Card
Here’s why I’ll be holding onto these cards for the long term:
Even though the Chase Sapphire Reserve has a $450 annual fee, it’s easy to get at least that much value from the card’s benefits. First off, it comes with a $300 annual travel credit, which is automatically applied to travel purchases each calendar year, making the net cost just $150.
For that price, I get 3X points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases, with no foreign transaction fees; the ability to transfer Ultimate Rewards points earned from my Sapphire Reserve and any other Ultimate Rewards-earning credit card to airline and hotel partners; and the ability to redeem those points directly for travel purchases at a rate of 1.5 cents per point, a benefit exclusive to the Sapphire Reserve.
The card also gives me access to the Priority Pass network of airport lounges and restaurants, reimbursement for my Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment fee, and excellent travel protection benefits including trip delay and cancellation insurance, coverage for delayed or lost baggage, purchase protection, and extended warranty coverage.
Like most airline credit cards, the United Explorer Card from Chase offers significant perks when flying United: a free checked bag, priority boarding, two free United Club passes each year, and a 25% rebate on inflight purchases.
However, United offers an incredible extra perk for its credit card holders: expanded access to economy class award tickets on United and United Express. This makes it easier for me to use my hard-earned miles, whether I earn them with United directly or by transferring points from Chase Ultimate Rewards.
For United MileagePlus elite members, this card offers an extra perk: Holding a United Explorer Card makes you eligible for upgrades on award tickets.
The World of Hyatt credit card from Chase offers automatic Discoverist status in the World of Hyatt program and a free night award every year on your card anniversary (valid at any Category 1 through 4 hotel). You can get a second free night award if you spend $15,000 on the card during your cardmember anniversary year.
In addition, this card earns 4X bonus points per dollar spent at Hyatt hotels, plus 2X bonus points per dollar spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, local transit and commuting, and fitness club and gym memberships; and 1 bonus point per dollar spent everywhere else.
The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express is probably my favorite small business credit card. It earns 2X American Express Membership Rewards points on all purchases up to $50,000 per year (1 point per dollar thereafter), and those points can be transferred to a whopping 22 airline and hotel partners – all with no annual fee.
If you hit that $50,000 per year maximum, you’ll earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points per year. Membership Rewards points are worth about 2 cents each according to The Points Guy, so 100,000 points per year is worth about $2,000 toward free travel. That’s an incredible return on business purchases, without having to worry about bonus categories.
This card also includes excellent benefits usually reserved for premium cards, including purchase protection, extended warranty, rental car insurance, baggage insurance, and travel accident coverage.
Citi Double Cash
No matter how many credit cards you have, there’s always going to be expenses that don’t fit into a category that earns you bonus points. For those expenses, I like to use my Citi Double Cash card. It offers a total of 2% cash back on purchases: 1% cash back when you make purchases and another 1% cash back when you pay off the card.
There are no bonus categories to track, no limit on how much cash back you can earn every year, and no annual fee. And since it’s a MasterCard, it’s accepted virtually everywhere that accepts credit cards (well, except Costco.)
Since this is a no-annual-fee credit card, there’s no reason to close it.
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