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Setting your 2021 Card Strategy

Namaste7
Established Contributor

Re: Setting your 2021 Card Strategy


@Aim_High wrote:

For the community, how do you set limits for yourself on new cards or inquiries and do you have a process before applying for new credit?  How long do you plan or do you impulsively app?   Is impulsive or excessive app'ing a problem or a concern? 


In the past, I enjoyed a few good thrills over app sprees which left me with several wasted 'new' accounts and INQs as a semi-permanent reminder. In the last two years, I tried to be intentional with card strategy. Reviewing my financial spreadsheet, which includes a tab with my existing CCs and goal CCs, and self-imposed inquiry limits generally keeps me in check now. While I know the 5/24 and 1/12 rules are not fan favorites, when I evaluate my portfolio, its rare for ME to maximize full card value if I am juggling more than two new cards in a 12-15 month period. My new app and new account activity will continue to slow down as I put more emphasis on decreasing expenditures.

 


@Aim_High wrote:

We're in the last three weeks of 2020.  As it draws to a close, what are your credit goals for 2021?


Since I deferred mortgage shopping indefinitely, my original 2021 plans are scrapped. Given my current lineup, I don't need any new accounts and I'd like to remain app free; however, if something changes, I know what card to target.

  • Original plan: Pick up my final goals cards -- BofA Premium Rewards, CS AMEX Plat & BECU 0% BT card | close 2 AF cards
  • Best plan: Zero apps for 2021 and ride out my 0% APR through August 2021 | close 2 AF cards
  • Alternate plan: Pick up 0% card (BofA CR, Discover Miles or Fidelity Visa) with the best offer | close 2 AF cards
~~MMXX~~
My Garden Goal: Double NW
Message 51 of 170
Curious_George2
Established Contributor

Re: Setting your 2021 Card Strategy

I'm locked in the garden until home purchase, which I hope will be mid-to-late 2021. That gives me plenty of time to research options and plan my next card apps. 

Cards I'm considering:

  • Amex Blue Cash Preferred - Grocery is my biggest spending category, so 6% cashback on that would be nice. I'm currently getting 4x MR on grocery with my Amex Gold, so I view BCP as an improvement on that for the first $6k/yr. If I get this card, I would shift the large CL over from my Delta SkyMiles Gold card and close the Delta card, producing essentially no net change in AF. I got the Delta card shortly before COVID hit. I envisioned using its SUB-miles and flight perks for a family trip this past summer that never happened. Not confident I will fly Delta again anytime soon, so the utility of that card has dwindled. If I go this route, I might also downgrade my Amex Gold to Green (from whence it came) to reduce AF.
  • US Bank Cash+ or Elan knockoff - It would be nice to get 5% CB on utilities, but I don't find it super compelling. I pay about $400/mo and currently get 2% CB from Citi DC, so the net gain would be $12/mo. I'd rather have that than not, but I'm not going to plan a year's worth of gardening for just that. The Elan Max Cash's addition of Entertainment as a 5% category sweetens the pot, particularly since it expressly includes Disney park tickets (a big spend item for me in non-pandemic years). But my enthusiasm for this new card is tempered by my growing belief that Elan's customer service would leave me unhappy.
  • Golden 1 CU Platinum Rewards - Not often discussed on MF (largely because the CU that issues it is geofenced to California), but this is a pretty nice card. 3% CB on grocery, restaurants and gas; no AF; low APR and relatively high limits available. This would be a logical card to pair with BCP if I ditch Amex Gold, so I could get 3% CB on grocery spend after passing BCP's annual cap. But I'm also mindful that 3% CB is only a 1% upgrade on my DC, so this would be a pretty small marginal gain. 
  • BofA Cash Rewards - My white whale. I've posted ad nauseum about my quest to PC my BankAmericard to this. I'm about to enter the Preferred Rewards program at the 25% level, so this card would give me 3.75% CB in category. I would aim that at online spending most months (though the usefulness of that is diminished by DW's Amazon Prime card), and sometimes furniture. If I can never get this via PC, I have to decide whether it's worth an app. Pre-mortgage, the answer is clearly no. Post-mortgage, we'll see.

Message 52 of 170
minski
Frequent Contributor

Re: Setting your 2021 Card Strategy

My peak credit app year was 2016 with 10 new lines. All but 2 served their purposes, and I still have 4 of those lines open (would have been 5 if it weren't for Blispay ☹). Following years I added 5 lines or less, all for one purpose or another except PLOCS - not sure why I got them when I have little intention of using them. Maybe for emergencies? Only time I regretted all the new apps was when the CSR first came out with their huge bonus - and I was way over 24....

 

At this point, I have all the cards I really want but do plan on adding a couple more in 2021:

Chase Freedom Flex - for the bonus; I finally fall under 5/24 in the spring. I then plan to close it and if I liked it, I would PC my original Freedom. Any negatives to this plan that anyone can think of?

I was thinking about no AF Hilton AmEx but now reviewing the benefits, looks like the Surpass would be better. Don't need it but wouldn't mind the little extras that come with the card. I am reconsidering getting a Hilton AmEx at all now. 

And I have had my eye on the Chase Hyatt for over a year now for the annual night free. I have 2 other hotel cards that offer annual night free and found them useful. 

 

Unless a card like PCMCU comes out, the only cards I am interested in are the two mentioned above for the aforementioned reasons. 

Message 53 of 170
Slabenstein
Valued Contributor

Re: Setting your 2021 Card Strategy


@minski wrote:

 

Chase Freedom Flex - for the bonus; I finally fall under 5/24 in the spring. I then plan to close it and if I liked it, I would PC my original Freedom. Any negatives to this plan that anyone can think of? 


As long as you leave the new Flex open for at least a year, the only negative I can think of is that if there's a core Chase card (as opposed to a bonus) that you want in the future and you're over 5/24, you would have had an extra slot handy for a PC.


Message 54 of 170
minski
Frequent Contributor

Re: Setting your 2021 Card Strategy

I have considered my Chase options and decided I will not be pursuing any other besides the two I have mentioned. I do plan on keeping thr Flex for a year at least. Thanks for the input! I was a little nervous about that plan.

Anyone know if there would be any reason to keep the original Freedom over the Flex?
Message 55 of 170
Aim_High
Senior Contributor

Re: Setting your 2021 Card Strategy


@minski wrote:
I have considered my Chase options and decided I will not be pursuing any other besides the two I have mentioned. I do plan on keeping thr Flex for a year at least. Thanks for the input! I was a little nervous about that plan.
Anyone know if there would be any reason to keep the original Freedom over the Flex?

Biggest difference is the network.  Freedom is a Visa and Freedom Flex is a Mastercard.  That matters to me because I buy a lot of gas at Costco, including during the 'gas' quarters on Freedom.  Costco only accepts Visa cards. 

 

I have the classic Freedom and Freedom Unlimited.  Chase sent me an email saying I'd get the 5% Travel, 3% Dining, 3% Drugstores on my old Freedom Unlimited that is offered on new Freedom Unlimited applications.  The same promo is available on the new Freedom, but Chase apparently doesn't offer those on my old Freedom card.   Doesn't matter to me since I get them on the CFU plus I have good coverage on those categories anyway. 

 

So you either get a Freedom as a Visa with 5% rotating categories and then 1% everything else.  Or you get a Freedom Flex as a Mastercard with 5% rotating categories, plus 5%/3% special categories, and then 1% everything else.

 

As far as I know, those are the only differences.



Length of Credit > 35 years; Total Credit Limits > $500K
AoOA > 28 years (Jun 1993); AoYA (Aug 2020); Gardening since 08/15/20.
* Hover cursor over cards to see name & CL, or press & hold on mobile app.
Message 56 of 170
Guyatthebeach
Valued Contributor

Re: Setting your 2021 Card Strategy

Aim_High,

 

My goal for 2021 is simple let me accounts age and watch my chapter 7 bankruptcy drop off in the middle of year. I've already got all the cards I want. I've also resolved myself to the fact I will probably never get back in with Chase.

 

My daily drivers are:

1. CapitalOne Savor (4% CB)

2. AmEX BCE

3. AmEx Amazon Prime 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods 

4. Sam's 5% on gas

5. NFCU Flagship for everything else

 

Guyatthebeach

Message 57 of 170
tcbofade
Super Contributor

Re: Setting your 2021 Card Strategy

I'm aiming for a mortgage refinance in January or February. 

 

No inquiries or new accounts in 2020.  Smiley Happy

 

Once the refi is complete, I'll probably pick up a USB Cash +.

 

 

06/01/21 Fico 8: EX 735, EQ 753, TU 757.
05/05/21 Fico 9: EX 729, EQ 732, TU No idea.

Zero percent financing is where the devil lives...
Message 58 of 170
NRB525
Super Contributor

Re: Setting your 2021 Card Strategy

In Dec 2017 I had 27 cards, with limits of $315k, one NPSL

In Dec 2020, now at 18 cards with limits of $305k, three NPSL. 

3/24 as of 12/31/2020

At least 1 card to close near term.

 

2021 is likely Schwab Platinum.

I will have had the regular AMEX Platinum two years as of March 2021, that would likely be closed after adding Schwab.

April 2021 puts me at 2/24

 

Beyond that, possible cards that I'm recently eligible for the bonus:

BofA Alaska Air, passed the 24 month wait

Citi AA, passed the 48 month wait

Chase United - Never had this card.

The three airline cards, however, are only possibilities. I figure it's nice to know my options, but the way travel spend has slowed, there's not much point in getting too excited about them.

 

ETA: Depending on how the first quarter Freedom calendar looks, I may apply for the Freedom Flex card. Getting the 5x Grocery for a year is a nice bonus, although the CSR with 3x Grocery through April takes some of the shine off the Flex.

High Bal Jan 2009 $116k on $146k limits 80% Util.
Oct 2014 $46k on $127k 36% util EQ 722 TU 727 EX 727
April 2018 $18k on $344k 5% util EQ 806 TU 810 EX 812
Jan 2019 $7.6k on $360k EQ 832 TU 839 EX 831
March 2021 $33k on $312k EQ 796 TU 798 EX 801
May 2021 Paid all Installments and Mortgages, one new Mortgage EQ 761 TY 774 EX 777
Message 59 of 170
Taurus22
Frequent Contributor

Re: Setting your 2021 Card Strategy

2021 Goals:

 

I may take a look at the Elan (Cash+) clone around May. I'm going to be trading my 2018 truck for a 2021 so it would be good timing to cluster my HP's. And I'm a sucker for those flexible 5% category cards...

Other than that, my cashback line-up is pretty well stable. Keeping my eye out for a good 5% gas card alternative in case they nerf my Ducks card (I'm grandfathered in to the 5% currently).

 

Then of course, if I could ever bypass Vantage West's geo-fence, I would jump on that in a beat. But I digress...

Current Wallet
Sock Drawered


Message 60 of 170
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