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Complimentary vs. Competitive cards with Annual Fees due!

Discussion in 'questions. answers. conversations.' started by Eli104, Sep 3, 2020.

  1. Eli104

    Eli104 New Member

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    Hi! I know this is a bit long (and also posted as a comment from some days ago about having a trim and fit wallet)… But I find myself in a sticky spot with multiple cards coming up for annual renewals at the same time. I am beginning to question the benefits of some cards, especially since the pandemic, I am trying to decide whether some are competitive or complementary, and which are worth keeping for the fees!

    I have a total of 5 Amex cards, 7 Chase (2 are business, 1 is Disney), and 2 Citi. (Aside: My wife has 1 Amex and 3 Citi, and is also secondary user on all of my cards except Amex Platinum and Citi Prestige). That is a LOT in annual fees, though I DO negotiate on some (extra points, reversed fees, etc.) some do NOT negotiate and I’m starting to question the value.

    Example 1: Marriott Bonvoy cards – 3 of them!
    I have had Chase Bonvoy Visa for many years and am Lifetime Gold with Marriott. But we each also have Amex Bonvoy (both converted from SPG). So that's 3 cards, 3 fees, and we would have 3 free nights per year (up to 35k points) combined. But we don’t stay at Marriott as much we used to (my last business stay was Dec. 2019, and was paid by work). Not to mention finding those 35k rooms is much more difficult than it used to be. (I have more than 250k points racked up, no place to use them).
    Q: Do I dump one (or more) of these cards to save $95?

    Example 2: IHG Rewards Club Premier
    With this card (and the old sign-up bonus) I stacked more than 165k points and Platinum Elite membership. Truth be told, I got this card and original bonus so I could transfer points to Lufthansa for big international trips. But last year, Lufthansa stopped accepting transfers (something about “revenue” laws in the EU), so the IHG account is just sitting with 3 free nights waiting… but my last IHG stay was so long ago it doesn’t even show on the account!
    Q: So do I keep the card for $95 and hope to use the points/nights sometime? Or save the cash and transfer all of my points to other airlines so they don’t expire?

    My big fee cards include Amex Platinum (Personal... I dropped the Business card when it came up at the start of the pandemic), Amex Hilton Aspire (prefer Hilton and get status with this card), and Citi Prestige (which seems to be losing its luster in the past years), but these are not up for renewal right now so I’m biding my time in the hopes that travel will pick up again and make them more worthwhile!

    I appreciate any comments or thoughts toward a thinner and more manageable wallet. My wife always asks what card to use for this or that... but with so many choices, neither of us wants to carry a brick of cards around (and even now, not everyone accepts ApplePay).

    Thanks!
     
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