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People with lots of credit cards, how do you maintain utilization on all of them to ensure CLI's

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Mega Contributor

Re: People with lots of credit cards, how do you maintain utilization on all of them to ensure CLI's

Message 21 of 33
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Valued Contributor

Re: People with lots of credit cards, how do you maintain utilization on all of them to ensure CLI's

If you look at my signature block below, you will see that I've grouped my nine cards into three categories. The four daily carry cards stay in my wallet and get used every month.  The two sock drawer cards get taken out every third month for a token charge or two to keep them active.  The three (useless) travel cards get used only when I travel.  Before COVID-19 that was every few months, but I doubt I'll travel again for at least a year.  I may have to treat the travel cards like the sock drawer cards.  I'll be downgrading two when the fees come due next month.

 

I don't do any of this to ensure CLIs.  I neither need nor want CLIs.  I think my last CLI was in August 2012, and I no longer even have that card.

 

I made a resolution three years ago never to have more than nine credit cards (and that limit includes store cards).  I think I closed eight cards in June 2017 to reduce my number from fourteen to six.  Now I'm up to my limit.

Daily Carry: PenFed Power Cash • NFCU Flagship • NFCU More Rewards • Chase Freedom
Sock Drawer: PenFed Promise • NFCU cashRewards
Useless Travel Cards: Chase Sapphire Reserve • Chase United Explorer • UNFCU Azure
Message 22 of 33
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Frequent Contributor

Re: People with lots of credit cards, how do you maintain utilization on all of them to ensure CLI's


@Knice86 wrote:

I see people with 15-40 credit cards all with high limits.  That is my goal but I wonder if there is a secret on being able to use them all in a rotation of sorts to ensure you get healthy CLI's whether automatic or manual.  Basically, how do you have such a large volume of credit cards all with high limits and manage to use them to the point where your credit limit never decreases, rather increases.  


@Knice86Just my $.02 on this topic:

 

Spreadsheet for accounts + spreadhseet for expenses = every card that's not in my digital or physical wallet gets an assigned monthly expense. 

 

Depending upon which rewards currency you want to pursue, some cards will always rise to the top as your daily drivers. Anything else can be SD'd with a regular monthly expense. So it's just a matter of being organized and keeping track of the flow. It's also important to initimately know the benefits of each card, so that utilization is not overly complicated and you know specifically what, when, and why you're using a particular product.

 

The issue with having a growing number of cards, beyond what represents actual value for each of our use cases, is opportunity cost. There's only so much regular organic spend that can be run through our cards, if you get to a point where there's multiple options for equivalent return, you start to dilute your rewards strategy. Regular and responsible use will lead to CLI's, so rather than emphasizing CLI's as a goal, consider the goal of developing a base of cards that result in positive value that you can build history around.










Message 23 of 33
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Valued Contributor

Re: People with lots of credit cards, how do you maintain utilization on all of them to ensure CLI's


@PullingMeSoftly wrote:

@Knice86 wrote:

I see people with 15-40 credit cards all with high limits.  That is my goal but I wonder if there is a secret on being able to use them all in a rotation of sorts to ensure you get healthy CLI's whether automatic or manual.  Basically, how do you have such a large volume of credit cards all with high limits and manage to use them to the point where your credit limit never decreases, rather increases.  


@Knice86Just my $.02 on this topic:

 

Spreadsheet for accounts + spreadhseet for expenses = every card that's not in my digital or physical wallet gets an assigned monthly expense. 

 

Depending upon which rewards currency you want to pursue, some cards will always rise to the top as your daily drivers. Anything else can be SD'd with a regular monthly expense. So it's just a matter of being organized and keeping track of the flow. It's also important to initimately know the benefits of each card, so that utilization is not overly complicated and you know specifically what, when, and why you're using a particular product.

 

The issue with having a growing number of cards, beyond what represents actual value for each of our use cases, is opportunity cost. There's only so much regular organic spend that can be run through our cards, if you get to a point where there's multiple options for equivalent return, you start to dilute your rewards strategy. Regular and responsible use will lead to CLI's, so rather than emphasizing CLI's as a goal, consider the goal of developing a base of cards that result in positive value that you can build history around.


+100

 

There are only so many unique benefits that a card can offer. At some point, rewards will overlap. And if spend is what's needed to get a card to grow, you don't want to dilute it by having more cards than you can use naturally. Of course, everyone's situation is different....





Message 24 of 33
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Valued Contributor

Re: People with lots of credit cards, how do you maintain utilization on all of them to ensure CLI's


@Knice86 wrote:

I see people with 15-40 credit cards all with high limits.  That is my goal but I wonder if there is a secret on being able to use them all in a rotation of sorts to ensure you get healthy CLI's whether automatic or manual.  Basically, how do you have such a large volume of credit cards all with high limits and manage to use them to the point where your credit limit never decreases, rather increases.  


I concur that some profiles are able to maintain high numbers of cards with high limits due to very high income and high spending.   There are more of these profiles on My Fico than you might imagine.   Some members might have modest income but are able to do only the high spend part of the equation since they can get reimbursed for business expenses billed to personal cards.  Still, high spend and pay alone is sufficient.

 

Second factor is simply time with a card and the issuer extending more credit limits, regardless of actual usage.  I've had credit for decades and four of my cards are over 20 years old.  Cards tend to grow with time.  I've never put spending anywhere close to the top limits I have on three of my cards of $50K to $70K.  In other words, as long as you continue to keep a strong and responsible credit profile, most major lenders will leave higher credit limits alone as long as you give them at least occassional use.  By the way, I've also product-changed all of those cards into more useful products as lenders have refreshed their lineup, so that is a great way to keep cards useful.

 

Third factor is the lender and the type of card.  I found that store cards get closed quickly and often without notice compared to major bank cards.  That's one reason I prefer to just stay away from them.   I found taking a hard pull and new account just to have the card closed unexpectedly an annoyance. 

 

Fourth is relationship with the lender.  I have cards in my profile that have literally not gotten a swipe in years but I have banking relationships with the lenders.  They leave the cards alone and I keep them 'just in case' I want to use them and for utilization padding.   (One is my USAA Rate Advantage that offers no rewards.  Another is a local credit union card with a lower APR and a lower-tier credit union rewards program.  Not a bad card, but I have better options.)    Lol ... reading this, I really need to take them out for a drive one day.Smiley Tongue

 

I admire several of you guys who are so organized with your spreadsheets and such!  I'm much more random, but it's been working for me.  I have tended to focus on cards in cycles, and sometimes in conjunction with spending before a CLI request.   But usually, day-to-day and when I'm not working on SUB spending, I primarily use the card that offers the best (or one of the best) returns for that category.  Right now, I'm working on the $500/$3000 spend SUB for BofA Premium Rewards and the $150/$500 spend for the Wells Fargo Cash Wise. 

 

As mentioned, an excellent suggestion is to just have monthly bills distributed between your selected cards.  For example, the main spending on my Chase INK Business Cash is just my monthly cable tv-internet and cell phone bills.  The card is no-AF and I get 7.5% return on spending for those categories when I move the UR points to my Chase Sapphire Reserve for travel redemption. 

 

Another solution is if you have additional family members, add them as Authorized Users and have them swipe specific charges though a card monthly, such as gas or fast food.

 

I don't go to the trouble of putting small charges on multiple cards on Amazon or at the gas station for a tank of gas.  Too much trouble IMO.  Much easier to just swap cards in my wallet every few months and use new ones for daily driving or specific category purchases. 



Updated 07/20/2020
Total Length of Credit = 35+ years; AoOA (Currently open accounts) = 27+ years;
AAoA = 8+ years; AoYA = less than 1 year (July 2020)
Total Open Credit Lines Over $521K. Utilization Less Than 1%.
Inquiries until Nov 2020 (TU:3 -- EQ:4 -- EX:8)
New Accounts: 3/6 months; 9/12 months; 12/24 months (as of 07/20/20)
Gardening until at least 04/2021.
*Hover cursor over each card to see name & CL, or press & hold on mobile app.
Message 25 of 33
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Super Contributor

Re: People with lots of credit cards, how do you maintain utilization on all of them to ensure CLI's


@Knice86 wrote:

I see people with 15-40 credit cards all with high limits.  That is my goal but I wonder if there is a secret on being able to use them all in a rotation of sorts to ensure you get healthy CLI's whether automatic or manual.  Basically, how do you have such a large volume of credit cards all with high limits and manage to use them to the point where your credit limit never decreases, rather increases.  


1. There's no magic to it. You have to keep a record of everything and you have to monitor everything.

 

2. For people who don't like doing it, they shouldn't do it. IMHO one should only have as many cards as one is comfortable managing.


Total revolving limits 649000 (573000 reporting) FICO 8 EQ 727 TU 744 EX 729

Message 26 of 33
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Moderator Emeritus

Re: People with lots of credit cards, how do you maintain utilization on all of them to ensure CLI's

I have a few cards, but I actually don't do anything special to ensure rotation or that cards are used.   At this point, I figure that if a card isn't used often and is at risk of CLD or closure, I probably wouldn't be too hurt if it closed.   As for card management, I try to log into the card websites on a regular basis, even if I haven't made a purchase in a while.   



Start: 619 (TU08, 9/2013) | Current: 799 (TU08, 8/05/20)
AMEX Cash Magnet $49000 | BofA BBR #1 $43900 | Discover IT $39000 | Uber VS $37000 | BoA BBR #2 $31100 | NFCU More Rewards AMEX $25000 | Sam's Club MC $25000 | Macy's AMEX $25000 Store $25000 | Care Credit MC $25000 | Cash+ VS $23500 | GS Apple Card WEMC $20000 | Altitude Go VS $19500 | Cap 1 QS WMC $17250 | Freedom VS $15000 | JCP $15000 | Sony Card $13250 | Target MC $13000 | WF Cash Wise VS $12,000 | Rakuten VS $12000 | Disney VS $10800 | Cap 1 SavorOne WEMC $10500 | Chase AARP $10000 | Amazon VS $10000 | Marvel MC $10000 | PPC $10000 | Blispay $7500 | Wayfair $4600 | Cash Back World WMC $3000 ~~
Message 27 of 33
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New Contributor

Re: People with lots of credit cards, how do you maintain utilization on all of them to ensure CLI's


@Knice86 wrote:

I see people with 15-40 credit cards all with high limits.  That is my goal but I wonder if there is a secret on being able to use them all in a rotation of sorts to ensure you get healthy CLI's whether automatic or manual.  Basically, how do you have such a large volume of credit cards all with high limits and manage to use them to the point where your credit limit never decreases, rather increases.  


It's been said before but you need to find a goal other than CLIs and leverage your organic spend. I use a spread sheet that has balance, credit limit utilization and finances charges.  I have a table for every month of the year and it updates with the charges I log in the spreadsheet.  I currently have 7 cards and want to grow to 12.  I don't actually need anymore cards but I want to round out my UR(Chase) and start playing with MR (AmEx).  I have about $975 in fixed monthly expenses, $1200/year property taxes (home & auto) and $400 dollars budgeted for gas ($160) & grocery ($240) pre-COVID.

 

My current lineup BAL/CL/UT; wallet(w) sock drawer (sd)

(w)CSP $4216/7500/56%

(w)AmEx Aspire $2716/6000/45%

(w)Cap1QS $1969.32/4500/44%

(sd)Cap1VO $2100.87/4500/47%

(sd)FCU cc $1319.9/2000/66%

(sd)CF $483.13/1700/28%

(sd)Cap1OB $202.95/700/29%

 

My 2022 goal lineup is 

AmEx Platinum $674/15,000/4%

CSR $450/12,000/3.75%

Cap1QS $152/7500/2%

AmEx Aspire 0/6000/0%

Cap1VO 0/4500/0%

AmEx Gold $389/4500/9%

Chase Amazon Prime $320/4000/8%

CFU $269/3500/8%

AmEx EDC 0/2500/0%

FCU cc 0/2000/0%

CF 88/1700/5%

Cap1OB 0/700/0%

 

For the last 12 months I was sending all my monthly spend through Cap1QS for 1.5% cash back.  Last month I started charging some of my fixed expenses to CSP because they are currently offering 5X on utilities and insurance.  When that promo is over, I will send all monthly recurring spend to Chase Freedom.  I plan to app for the CFU in late 2021  and multiple cards in 2022.  I plan on getting my CSP converted to CSR and increasing the limit by reallocating CFU CL and HP.

 

Now I may re-evaluate my need and spend when I get through 2022.  Maybe I don't get all the cards or CLIs on my list.  The point is to have a plan, especially with the organic spend.

Message 28 of 33
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Valued Contributor

Re: People with lots of credit cards, how do you maintain utilization on all of them to ensure CLI's


@CreditDiceRoll63 wrote:


 ... I want to round out my UR(Chase) and start playing with MR (AmEx) ... I was sending all my monthly spend through Cap1QS for 1.5% cash back.  ... I started charging some of my fixed expenses to CSP because they are currently offering 5X on utilities and insurance ... I plan on getting my CSP converted to CSR

 

My current lineup BAL/CL/UT; wallet(w) sock drawer (sd)

(w)CSP $4216/7500/56%

(w)AmEx Aspire $2716/6000/45%

(w)Cap1QS $1969.32/4500/44%

(sd)Cap1VO $2100.87/4500/47%

(sd)FCU cc $1319.9/2000/66%

(sd)CF $483.13/1700/28%

(sd)Cap1OB $202.95/700/29%

 

My 2022 goal lineup is 

AmEx Platinum ...

CSR ...

AmEx Aspire ...

AmEx Gold ...


@CreditDiceRoll63, looking over your card lineup, balances, and reading about your future plans concerns me that you may have focused on the forest for the trees.  While you're free to do what you want, I feel I would be remiss not to offer some constructive feedback for you. 

 

There's a lot of talk about URs, MRs, 1.5% cash back, and 5x categories, as well as plans for expensive annual fee cards (I count $1800 in total fees at $550 x 2, $450 x 1, and $250 x 1.)   Yet I add up about $13K in debt you're carrying and your utilization across accounts is high (approximately 48% total utilzation at about $13,008 out of $26,900.)  That is a LOT of annual fees, especially depending on income and spend, and with the debt you are carrying I'm assuming either income isn't high or your total debts and expenses are a burden relative to income. 

 

Unless most or all of those balances are on 0% or low APR Balance Transfer offers, focusing on rewards is misplaced for the short-term.  What would most benefit you is to prioritize lowering the interest payments you are probably bleeding out.  At a generous and rough average of 16% APR (which may well be higher), your interest payments on $13K add up to (at least) $173 monthly in interest which is over $2,000 per year.  I'm guessing that you are actually paying much more.  Any rewards value is miniscule compared to that.  Longer-term, the rewards cards will benefit but I would suggest trying to cut those interest payments instead of the focus on points and cash back.   Rewards are almost worthless if you're carrying a balance at standard APRs.

 

Likewise, on the AF cards, does your spend and lifestyle actually support $1800 Annual Fees in premium travel cards?   What percentage of your income would $1800 be in payments?  Getting a Platinum or Gold or CSR is not an appropriate value proposition for all profiles.  For example, I have medium six-figure income, could qualify for a Platinum, and could easily afford it for the "luxury" but it just doesn't fit my spend.  A good annual fee card will pay for itself (and then some) with organic spend.  If you aren't a heavy traveler, focusing on just one or two of those cards for now or maybe looking into the many no-AF travel cards might be a better option.

 

Good luck with your plans for the future and paying down the debts.  Smiley Happy



Updated 07/20/2020
Total Length of Credit = 35+ years; AoOA (Currently open accounts) = 27+ years;
AAoA = 8+ years; AoYA = less than 1 year (July 2020)
Total Open Credit Lines Over $521K. Utilization Less Than 1%.
Inquiries until Nov 2020 (TU:3 -- EQ:4 -- EX:8)
New Accounts: 3/6 months; 9/12 months; 12/24 months (as of 07/20/20)
Gardening until at least 04/2021.
*Hover cursor over each card to see name & CL, or press & hold on mobile app.
Message 29 of 33
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Valued Contributor

Re: People with lots of credit cards, how do you maintain utilization on all of them to ensure CLI's

  1. I currently have around (40)ish credit cards along with another (35-40)ish closed accounts rather by myself or grantor. Having amassed close to $800k in available credit at some point I have settled into the lineup I have. I give all my cash back cards heavy rotation throughout the year to maximize SUB's then I will just rotate my Disco & Miles cards towards the end of the year for the category spend. 

    Cli's aren't coming fast and frequently anymore at least for me. Usually when I was becoming eligible for an increase on said card I would purposely increase the spend on that card in hopes of getting a favorable result. But, that is a formula that isn't always sucessful. Amex comes to mind. I haven't received an increase from them in over 2 years. With that result, I have stopped spending all my Amex cards only just enough to keep them active. Citi no increases in over a year. Even BOA has dried up as well.

Eventually my plan is to apply and only carry BOA preferred rewards and US Bank Cash+ for rotating catergories. Every other card will be rotated with pack of bubble gum or fast food take out spend to keep them active. Believe me I have learned from having over $200k in tradelines yanked away from me for (non) usage. As the old adage goes " use it or loose it!" 

Starting FICO08 Scores 2016 All in the mid 500’s
Current FICO08 Scores July 2020 (TU 762) (EQ 754) (EXP 744)
$600k+ Tradelines in progress
Gardening until at least April 2021
“The credit is no longer bruised, it has endured the test of time” (formally know as bruisedcredit)
Message 30 of 33
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