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Member
pugsly8422
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎05-22-2012
0

Considering an Overhaul

[ Edited ]

Well, after some changes over the last year (marriage, new job, saving for a home), I am looking to possibly make some changes to my wallet.  Here are a few facts up front:

 

1 - Wife and I both have excellent scores, I know that I am in the 760-780's

2 - AAoA for me is about 5.5 years (I'm about to close my Southwest Visa before the anniversary hits in April, so that should raise it a bit).  I would assume hers is higher because she does not have as many cards as me, but this is just a guess.  Also, very low utiliziation 5-8% most months.

3 - I usually veer toward cash back and no annual fees, although I am willing to consider other options (such as travel and paying annual fees) if they are advantageous.  I would also like to find a few cards and keep them, instead of closing them out or throwing them in a drawer after I get the bonus.

4 - We do not travel much.

5 - I do not mind replacing one card with another (ex. Captial One Cash with something that offers higher than 1.5% on all purchases).

 

Current cards:

1 - Citi Forward (I am afraid what will happen when this one expires because I use it a lot on Amazon and at restaurants) - ~$9k limit - Restaurants & Amazon

2 - Chase Freedom - ~22k limit - Rotating categories

3 - Capital One Cash Rewards - ~10.5k limit - Purchases that don't fall under other cards with higher bonuses

4 - Citi ThankYou - ~8.5k limit - Had stopped using it, but recently started again due to the 5% bonuses thru 12/31/13

5 - Fidelity Amex - ~10k limit - Use it sparingly to keep it open, but even though it gives .5% more than the Capital One Cash, it's too much trouble putting it into my Fidelity IRA.  I'd also rather have the cash, than make IRA deposits.  Maybe I'm doing this all wrong.

6 - Chase Southwest Visa - Going to cancel it since it should actually help my AAoA, and I don't want to pay the annual fee.

7 - Discover More (wife) - I'm trying to get her to transfer this into an IT.....it's a struggle.

 

Cards I'm considering:

1 - Discover IT - I love the rotating categories, and Shop Discover.  I'm trying to use my wifes account to refer me so that we can both get a $50 bonus, but when I log onto her account, the button on the page disappears.  I may have to settle for the $75 Amazon gift card, if it's still available.

2 - Citi Dividend Platinum Visa - Rotating categories

3 - Sallie Mae Mastercard - We spend about $300/month on groceries, and the same on gas, so the $250 limit wouldn't be terrible.  I figure this could also replace my Forward card for Amazon purchases when/if it is taken away.

4 - U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa - Well, I checked and there's realy no locations near me.  I did see the thread about calling, and haven't tried that yet, but I'm not holding my breath.  Once again, rotating categories and the fact that you get to choose them are the main reasons.

5 - Barclaycard Arrival Mastercard - I see this is basically a 2.2% on everything card, if you spend the rewards on travel, but $89/month is a steep price.  Even with the sign up bonus, I'm hesitant because I do want to keep these cards more than a year.

6 - Others I've looked at and ruled out, but will still consider if I can be convinced: Starwood Preferred Guest, Amex Blue Cash, PenFed Platinum, Chase Sapphire Preferred

 

We are looking to purchase a home in the next 12-18 months, and I currently have 3 hard pulls on my account, so I'm afraid this may come into play.  The good thing is, the 3 hard pulls will be gone by the time we start looking for a home.

 

So I guess it all comes down to the million dollar question......what would you suggest are the best options to maximize rewards?  I'm sure I left out some crucial information, so feel free to ask.

 

Thanks!

Community Leader
Mega Contributor
coldnmn
Posts: 15,818
Registered: ‎08-08-2011
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Re: Considering an Overhaul

The current hard pulls will be gone. The question is will it be worth it to you to have any new pulls that you will incur applying for new credit on your report when applying for a mortgage. You have some great cards now good luck on your mortgage whatever you decide. 

My Wallet /US Bank Cash+ Signature $10,000/ Ace US Bank Signature $10,000 / Sam's Mastercard $8500
/ Walmart Mastercard $8000 / Discover IT $5000 / Care Credit $5000
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Last App 8/12/14 /

Valued Contributor
parakleet
Posts: 1,145
Registered: ‎04-13-2013
0

Re: Considering an Overhaul


pugsly8422 wrote:

Well, after some changes over the last year (marriage, new job, saving for a home), I am looking to possibly make some changes to my wallet.  Here are a few facts up front:

 

1 - Wife and I both have excellent scores, I know that I am in the 760-780's

2 - AAoA for me is about 5.5 years (I'm about to close my Southwest Visa before the anniversary hits in April, so that should raise it a bit).  I would assume hers is higher because she does not have as many cards as me, but this is just a guess.  Also, very low utiliziation 5-8% most months. Improving AAoA doesn't work by closing cards. Your DW's AAoA will depend on the age of her cards, not necessarily the number.

3 - I usually veer toward cash back and no annual fees, although I am willing to consider other options (such as travel and paying annual fees) if they are advantageous.  I would also like to find a few cards and keep them, instead of closing them out or throwing them in a drawer after I get the bonus.

4 - We do not travel much. If you don't travel, then the travel cards w/ AF probably aren't for you. But really depends on what you want out of the travel cards. Only you can determine what's best for you and your DW. For example, if both of you get the CSP, that's 80k UR points that you can transfer to travel partners and you can also combine with whatever points you have on your Freedom. First year's AF is waived but since you said that you don't want to close after the bonus, it may not work for you. But only you can do the math to see if that will work.

5 - I do not mind replacing one card with another (ex. Captial One Cash with something that offers higher than 1.5% on all purchases). Check out 2% Fidelity Amex

 

Current cards:

1 - Citi Forward (I am afraid what will happen when this one expires because I use it a lot on Amazon and at restaurants) - ~$9k limit - Restaurants & Amazon

2 - Chase Freedom - ~22k limit - Rotating categories

3 - Capital One Cash Rewards - ~10.5k limit - Purchases that don't fall under other cards with higher bonuses

4 - Citi ThankYou - ~8.5k limit - Had stopped using it, but recently started again due to the 5% bonuses thru 12/31/13

5 - Fidelity Amex - ~10k limit - Use it sparingly to keep it open, but even though it gives .5% more than the Capital One Cash, it's too much trouble putting it into my Fidelity IRA.  I'd also rather have the cash, than make IRA deposits.  Maybe I'm doing this all wrong.

6 - Chase Southwest Visa - Going to cancel it since it should actually help my AAoA, and I don't want to pay the annual fee.

7 - Discover More (wife) - I'm trying to get her to transfer this into an IT.....it's a struggle.

 

Cards I'm considering:

1 - Discover IT - I love the rotating categories, and Shop Discover.  I'm trying to use my wifes account to refer me so that we can both get a $50 bonus, but when I log onto her account, the button on the page disappears.  I may have to settle for the $75 Amazon gift card, if it's still available.

2 - Citi Dividend Platinum Visa - Rotating categories The categories on the Dividend aren't that helpful - research the categories before you sign up.

3 - Sallie Mae Mastercard - We spend about $300/month on groceries, and the same on gas, so the $250 limit wouldn't be terrible.  I figure this could also replace my Forward card for Amazon purchases when/if it is taken away.

4 - U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa - Well, I checked and there's realy no locations near me.  I did see the thread about calling, and haven't tried that yet, but I'm not holding my breath.  Once again, rotating categories and the fact that you get to choose them are the main reasons.

5 - Barclaycard Arrival Mastercard - I see this is basically a 2.2% on everything card, if you spend the rewards on travel, but $89/month year is a steep price.  Even with the sign up bonus, I'm hesitant because I do want to keep these cards more than a year.

6 - Others I've looked at and ruled out, but will still consider if I can be convinced: Starwood Preferred Guest, Amex Blue Cash, PenFed Platinum, Chase Sapphire Preferred Personally I love my Amex BCP but it works for us because we spend a lot on groceries - we will definitely meet the $6k/yr cap. Maybe the BCE would work better for you since you don't spend as much on groceries. It's always nice to have an Amex for backdating purposes for your aaoa. I also love my CSP since we're using it to save up for a vacay to pay for with miles.

 

We are looking to purchase a home in the next 12-18 months, and I currently have 3 hard pulls on my account, so I'm afraid this may come into play.  The good thing is, the 3 hard pulls will be gone by the time we start looking for a home. 3 HPs are hardly that many.

 

So I guess it all comes down to the million dollar question......what would you suggest are the best options to maximize rewards?  I'm sure I left out some crucial information, so feel free to ask.

 

Thanks!


 


Gardening since 7/16/14
Current: EQ 711 7/13/14; EX 724 TU 721 6/19/14
Goal: 760+
Valued Contributor
visorboy1974
Posts: 1,132
Registered: ‎05-17-2010
0

Re: Considering an Overhaul

AAoA won't be helped by closing an account.  It takes both open and closed accounts into consideration.  

 

 

Regular Contributor
colinstu
Posts: 179
Registered: ‎06-22-2013
0

Re: Considering an Overhaul


pugsly8422 wrote:

1 - Discover IT - I love the rotating categories, and Shop Discover.  I'm trying to use my wifes account to refer me so that we can both get a $50 bonus, but when I log onto her account, the button on the page disappears.  I may have to settle for the $75 Amazon gift card, if it's still available.


This was a pain for me to figure out when I tried to invite a friend to Discover IT too. 

 

In chrome, going to https://www.discover.com/credit-cards/exclusives/sharediscover/ hitting the button, logging in, and the button is gone. Try that same webpage in IE, press button and login, and woohoo the button stays there! 

TU FICO 8/14 743 | EQ FICO 6/13 724 | EX FICO 8/14 739 | CS FAKO 10/14 751 | CARS (Chase) 8/14 749
Chase Freedom $4,000 | Chase Amazon Rewards $3,500 | Citi DoubleCash $3,300 | Amex BCE $3,200 | Citi Forward $2,500 | Barclaycard Rewards $2,000 | Capital One Quicksilver $1,750 | Discover IT $1,300
Want: SallieMae WMC
Member
pugsly8422
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎05-22-2012
0

Re: Considering an Overhaul

Thank you all for your input.  As far as the Discover referral goes, I also tried it with Explorer last night, but only the top half of the page would load, then it would just sit there loading and loading, but nothing happening.  Maybe I'll try on the iPad or phone next.

 

AAoA - I thought that closing the card would remove a short lived card from my report, thus increasing my AAoA (ex. 2 cards, one is 10 years, the other is 2 years, by closing the 2 year card, the AAoA would go from 6 years to 10 years).  Not saying I'm right, just that this is what I was thinking.  I realize it is the age of the cards that matters, not the number, but I said I figure my wifes AAoA is probably high since she just has 1 card because that means she hasn't been applying for any new ones, which would lower her AAoA.

 

Fidelity Amex - I actually have it, and am not a big fan.  I mentioned it in the list of my current cards.

 

Dividend - Good info.  I will look into the categories and see if they would be beneficial.

 

I have considered the BCE, but usually lean away because 3% at grocery stores and 2% on gas aren't that helpful for us.  I just figure there is another card that could be more helpful.  I have looked into the CSP before as well, but the only things tempting me are the sign up bonus, and the 7% dividend, althought I do like the 20% discount.  I figure my main problem with this card will be accumulating the points.  We don't travel much, and use the Forward for 5% back at restaurants. 

Regular Contributor
navyox
Posts: 244
Registered: ‎09-04-2013
0

Re: Considering an Overhaul

If your current stable of cards is meeting your needs, and there isn't anything out there that would really benefit you, I'd just sit tight.     Especially with a mortgage application on the horizon.   



Starting Score: 676 CK 5/13. Current: 717 EX 6/15 -- Last App: 6/2014
Frequent Contributor
jenn_bar
Posts: 315
Registered: ‎05-24-2013
0

Re: Considering an Overhaul

I don't think you've received much help because it's hard to figure out where you're going...

What don't you like about your cards currently? I would never close a card that has $0 AF because it will help your AAOA in the long run. If there is an AF attached to a card, call and see if you can get a retention bonus to offset the AF--often you will get one.

Try to figure out your goals. You stated that you won't travel a lot. If that's the case, many cards included the CSP and SPG are probably pointless for you because their strong benefits include transferring 1:1 with travel partners. On top of that, CSP is one of the rare cards to get a retention, so expect to pay the AF after the first year. AMEX doesn't give retentions or first year free, so expect to pay it as well.

Categorize your spending. You started to do this by evaluating your gas/groceries. By doing this, it can lead you to cards that will ultimately benefit you and you won't have to do any other spending than you typically do.

From what you have stated, here are some options:
Call Chase when your SW card gets to the year mark. Ask for a retention, you will probably get 3k-6k additional miles. Decide if that is worth keeping the card open. If you use SW a lot, you could consider getting the other SW CC (I don't know if you have plus/premiere) and then getting the companion pass (considering you got the 50k bonus with the SW CC you currently have).

Use the Freedom only when the 5% categories are in play.

For your gas/groceries, get the AMEX BCP. Yes, there's an AF, but you will most likely make up for it. If you spend ~$6k groceries a month, you will get $360 back. If you're very against AF, the BCE is great too.

Not to mention, you should probably get an AMEX in general so you can backdate future card you get with them from now on. It's always good to get in as early as you can!

I'm not sure what to do with your Citi and Cap1 cards, as I'm not so familiar with cash back (I'm in the CC game to travel!), but if you aren't using them and they have no AF, pull them out once in a while to use, then sock drawer them. They'll be beneficial in the long run.

Hope this helps!

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