What Are the Cards In My Wallet Right Now?
What are the cards in my wallet, and why? It’s a question I get a lot. Family members ask why I’m using a different card now than the one I used earlier. Friends mention that they see me using different cards all the time. When I pull out a card to pay for something, it’s not uncommon for friends and family to ask, “So why that card and not something else?” Here are the cards in my wallet and why they’re there.
American Express Platinum Card – Charles Schwab Version
This one is easy: the Charles Schwab version of the American Express Platinum card is in my wallet because I’m working on the spending requirements for the welcome offer. The current welcome offer is as follows:
- 60,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 within the first three months of card membership.
- The $550 annual fee is NOT waived
- You must have a Charles Schwab brokerage/checking account to be eligible for the offer.
I’ve never had the regular version of this card, offered by American Express itself. The 100,000 point welcome offer for the Platinum card is one of the unicorns of this hobby, and the card has “once in a lifetime” language, so I’m holding out to try to get something better than the current 60,000 points on the public offer. While waiting for that (maybe, hopefully someday), I got the Schwab version that has the same benefits. This card also earns valuable Membership Rewards points, which might be the best currency around.
All versions of the Platinum card (there used to be 4, but some are not open to new customers now) come with some great benefits:
- Priority Pass annual membership with unlimited visits plus 2 guests per visit
- Access to American Express and Centurion lounges
- Access to Delta lounges when flying on Delta
- $15 monthly credits for Uber (includes Uber Eats!) and $20 in December
- $200 annual airline credit toward your preferred airline
- 5x points earning on bookings through AmexTravel.com or flights directly from the airline
- Fee credit for your application for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check
- $100 annual credit for shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue
- Car rental and travel insurance perks
- It is the only card that allows you to cash in Membership Rewards points for cash at a rate of $0.0125 a piece.
American Express Gold Card
The American Express Gold Card is less about its benefits and more about using it for spending to maximize points earning. It’s another card earning valuable Membership Rewards points. There is a current welcome offer of 35,000 points after spending $4,000 in 90 days. I’ve had this card for a while and will probably renew it and pay the annual fee, even if they offer me nothing during my upcoming retention call.
Spending bonus categories:
The real kicker on this card is the opportunity for bonus points on spending. Here are the categories and points earning rates:
- 4x points on restaurants worldwide
- 4x points at US supermarkets, up to your first $25,000 per year
- 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or at AmexTravel.com
- 1x point per dollar on everything else
Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card
This is one of few cards I carry that doesn’t earn transferable points. “Transferable” means earning something like Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards that you can send to a host of hotel or airline programs to do with as you please. The Chase World of Hyatt Card earns points that are only good for Hyatt. However, World of Hyatt is a valuable program that many love.
There are also 4 specific perks making this a permanent card in my wallet:
- Elite status for free: As I mentioned before, you get automatic Discoverist status simply by having this card. That’s not a ton, but you get 10% bonus earning on stays, waived resort fees, free bottled water, late checkout, and preferred rooms.
- Anniversary night certificate: It’s simple. Every year that you own the card and pay the annual fee, you get an anniversary night worth at least double the annual fee.
- 2 nights credits for $5,000 spend: This provides another path to status, as you can get it from both stays and from spend on your card. Every $5,000 you spend on the card will give you 2 nights of credits toward status.
- Free night certificate after $15,000 in spend: This is the biggest perk that makes this a card in my wallet. During your account anniversary, spend $15,000 on the card and earn a free night certificate. Combined with the math from above, you’ll also have earned 6 nights of credits from this $15k, plus this free night.
The Chase World of Hyatt Card is in my wallet because I’m finishing up the last bit of my $15,000 for the year to earn that extra free night. If I’m paying for something where I can’t earn any bonus points with another card, then I use this card. This is my go-to card for anything that can’t earn bonus points. Doing that throughout the year helps me get to $15,000.
Citi Double Cash Card
I opened the Citi Double Cash card recently because of its new power. The card has no annual fee, no caps, and no limits on earning. The structure is simple: earn 1% cash back on all purchases. Earn another 1% when you pay the bill. It’s double the cash back.
The real power of this card came with the recent change that you can convert your cash back into Citi ThankYou Points, as long as you own one of the cards that earn these points. If you have something like the Citi Premier (I have this) or Citi Prestige, the Citi Double Cash card now lets you earn 2 ThankYou points per dollar. That’s a winner for anything that isn’t a bonus category with some other card. I mix it up with this and my non-bonus spends for the Chase World of Hyatt Card card mentioned above.
The drawback on this card is that it charges foreign transaction fees. Living in Brazil, I don’t use it a ton. However, if I buy something online or have a chance to check out in dollars at a good rate, I can use this card and earn my double ThankYou Points. For info on how to convert the cash back to ThankYou Points, Ian has a guide here.
The cards in my wallet each serve a valuable purpose. The Charles Schwab Platinum is a card where I need to meet the spending requirement to earn the welcome bonus. It also has ongoing perks beyond the spending and the welcome bonus. The American Express Gold Card is for maximizing points on its many bonus categories. The Chase World of Hyatt Card earns perks for a valuable hotel program and has ongoing value to me past the length of earning the bonus from opening the card. And the Citi Double Cash card has everyday spending value. Since it has no fee, it’s definitely a lifer in my wallet.
The cards in my wallet do change. If I’m going on a trip, I may swap out some cards, such as not taking cards that have foreign transaction fees or taking a card for the hotel brand I’m staying at. This way, I earn extra points for any charges there.
As you can see, I value American Express Membership Rewards very highly. Additionally, the cards in my wallet are set up to help me earn as many points as possible for each transaction I make.