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If you could have only ONE card....

Regular Contributor

Re: If you could have only ONE card....

Unfortunately I don't think "one card" is a realistic thing to shoot for.

 

As others have said, you definitely want to spread your business with a few banks - across a few different card networks - so that when you travel, if anything goes pear-shaped, you have alternatives. 

My strategy (for a few decades) has been two wallets - one with "infrequent cards" and my regular day-to-day wallet.

 

In the everyday wallet...

 

 

  • 1 card for high-value rewards/privileges for travel (Amex Platinum)
  • 1 card for high-value travel earnings and no foreign trans fees (CSR)
  • 1 card for grocery/everyday (unfortunately, because of rotating rewards, I end up having to switch out quarterly which one earns the best...). Maybe a 2nd depending on how the rewards are working. These 2 will be BoA Cash Rewards, Amex BCE, Discover, Chase Freedom, or Sears MC
  • 1 card for restaurants (same thing... have to rotate quarterly, or default to Uber Visa for 4%)
  • 1 card for everything else (Citi DC, 2% back)
  • ...and my Costco Visa which is for gas

 

and in the "pull out when needed" wallet...

 

  • 1 card with a high limit, low APR to use for anything that I need a few months to revolve (BoA Visa, 6.49%... and when they offer good 0% BT offers on occasion, even better). 
  • Plus I do believe in store cards when they actually deliver great value, i.e. Target 5%, Lowes 5%, Home Depot deferred billing, Nordstrom 3%+ (depends on when they have double rewards days), Steinmart 4% (when they have double reward days), BBB/WorldMarket 5%, Amazon 5%, TJX Rewards 5%, etc... but I don't normally carry them

This works for me because I'm both a rewards freak and organized. My husband *HATES* the rotating cards, but appreciates that I get us back several thousand $s in rewards every year, so he puts up with having to have a "cheat sheet" to know when to use which card where Smiley Happy  

 

Message 21 of 53
Frequent Contributor

Re: If you could have only ONE card....


@MJ-san wrote:

Unfortunately I don't think "one card" is a realistic thing to shoot for.

 

As others have said, you definitely want to spread your business with a few banks - across a few different card networks - so that when you travel, if anything goes pear-shaped, you have alternatives. 

My strategy (for a few decades) has been two wallets - one with "infrequent cards" and my regular day-to-day wallet.

 

In the everyday wallet...

 

 

  • 1 card for high-value rewards/privileges for travel (Amex Platinum)
  • 1 card for high-value travel earnings and no foreign trans fees (CSR)
  • 1 card for grocery/everyday (unfortunately, because of rotating rewards, I end up having to switch out quarterly which one earns the best...). Maybe a 2nd depending on how the rewards are working. These 2 will be BoA Cash Rewards, Amex BCE, Discover, Chase Freedom, or Sears MC
  • 1 card for restaurants (same thing... have to rotate quarterly, or default to Uber Visa for 4%)
  • 1 card for everything else (Citi DC, 2% back)
  • ...and my Costco Visa which is for gas

 

and in the "pull out when needed" wallet...

 

  • 1 card with a high limit, low APR to use for anything that I need a few months to revolve (BoA Visa, 6.49%... and when they offer good 0% BT offers on occasion, even better). 
  • Plus I do believe in store cards when they actually deliver great value, i.e. Target 5%, Lowes 5%, Home Depot deferred billing, Nordstrom 3%+ (depends on when they have double rewards days), Steinmart 4% (when they have double reward days), BBB/WorldMarket 5%, Amazon 5%, TJX Rewards 5%, etc... but I don't normally carry them

This works for me because I'm both a rewards freak and organized. My husband *HATES* the rotating cards, but appreciates that I get us back several thousand $s in rewards every year, so he puts up with having to have a "cheat sheet" to know when to use which card where Smiley Happy  

 


Good things to think about for sure. I like how organized you keep things LOL. This is definitely a hypothetical—I’m not planning on going down to only one card

Amex BCE: 18k
Discover It: 17.2k
Barclays Apple Rewards Visa: 4.5k
Citi DC: 3.7k
US Bank Cash +: 1k

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Once you go Berner, you never go back.
Message 22 of 53
New Contributor

Re: If you could have only ONE card....


@MJ-san wrote:

Unfortunately I don't think "one card" is a realistic thing to shoot for.

 


I think I could get down to only carrying one as long as I have the rest loaded in Apple Pay.

Message 23 of 53
Frequent Contributor

Re: If you could have only ONE card....

I will play the Chase Sapphire Reserve but man the Amex Gold is close.

Nov 2014 500s April 2016 TU 707 EQ 690 EX 663 May 2017 TU 718 EQ 708 EX 701
CSR 12K United Explorer 12k Cap One QS 10.6K Discover 7.8k Freedom 4k Unlimited 4.4k AMEX Platinum NPSL
Message 24 of 53
Frequent Contributor

Re: If you could have only ONE card....

If they ever came out with a card that had 5% cash back on all purchases, you better believe I'd only be using that card - aside from token purchases to keep the other cards open.

 

Otherwise, my ideal wallet would have a total of 5 cards, each with 100k limits.

Message 25 of 53
Frequent Contributor

Re: If you could have only ONE card....


@trusty wrote:

If they ever came out with a card that had 5% cash back on all purchases, you better believe I'd only be using that card - aside from token purchases to keep the other cards open.

 

Otherwise, my ideal wallet would have a total of 5 cards, each with 100k limits.


Wouldn’t that be fabulous? Lol. Somebody make that card

Amex BCE: 18k
Discover It: 17.2k
Barclays Apple Rewards Visa: 4.5k
Citi DC: 3.7k
US Bank Cash +: 1k

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Once you go Berner, you never go back.
Message 26 of 53
New Contributor

Re: If you could have only ONE card....


@MJ-san wrote:
  • ...and my Costco Visa which is for gas 

A lot of people don't know it but the Costco card is probably the best for purchasing travel... it doesn't have the high cash back but it includes free trip insiurance and not many card do!

Message 27 of 53
Senior Contributor

Re: If you could have only ONE card....


@vV35Hszm wrote:

@MJ-san wrote:
  • ...and my Costco Visa which is for gas 

A lot of people don't know it but the Costco card is probably the best for purchasing travel... it doesn't have the high cash back but it includes free trip insiurance and not many card do!


It's a very good no-extra-AF card (I like mine) and it does have some travel insurance...but those travel protections are much weaker than what many AF cards offer.

 

As far as merchandise protections (return, warranty, price, etc.) Costco really is one of the best (even including AF products).

Protections: CSR, Schwab Platinum, Costco, Double Cash
Rewards/Offers: BBP, CF, CFU, Discover, ED, BCE
Annual nights: IHG, Hyatt
PIN: Arrival
Bonus chasing/retention games: Aviator Red, SPG Luxury
Message 28 of 53
Valued Contributor

Re: If you could have only ONE card....


@pinkandgrey wrote:

@wasCB14 wrote:

@rbentley wrote:

My library card.


Along those lines, I would think a Social Security card would win.

 

Joking aside, CSR for travel rewards, a Visa for Costco, and good customer service.


Interesting. Seems like a lot of people love the CSR


And for good reason.  Let me add my name to the CSR list.

Chase Sapphire Reserve • PenFed Power Cash Rewards • and five cards in the sock drawer

No CC debt • No bonus chasing • No app sprees • No gift cards • No AZEO • No airline incidentals • No hotel cards • No store cards • No business cards • No authorized users
Message 29 of 53
Valued Contributor

Re: If you could have only ONE card....

Easy; my USAA Limitless Cash Rewards Visa. 2.5% cash back on everything.


Message 30 of 53