Sharon and I have 29 credit cards between the two of us. Only a few of them have no annual fees, so I need to make sure that the cards we keep still have value to us that’s worth more than we’re paying. For some cards, the benefits are tangible, as in saving money on checked bag fees or getting travel credits. Other cards have more intangible value like travel insurance coverages or cell phone protection.
I gave a quick look at my cards and there are seven of them that are currently on the cut list. That’s either because the benefits we valued have been removed, we got a new card that took its place, or we no longer need the perks the card provides.
American Express Business Green Card
The AMEX Business Green Card has a $95 annual fee. For that, you earn 2x Membership Rewards points for all purchases at amextravel.com. That’s it.
I’ve had this card for a while, so I’ve hesitated to cancel it. I’ve been hoping AMEX would send me an upgrade offer to the Gold or Platinum business cards with no language about previously having the cards, but that hasn’t happened. In the past, AMEX offered me a retention offer to keep the Green Card but last time the rep suggested that I look into the Blue Business Plus card with no annual fee. Now that we have that card, I think it’s time to get rid of the Green Business Card.
American Express Business Gold Card (Old Version)
AMEX recently revamped the Business Gold Card, giving it a new earning structure and a much higher annual fee. I still have the old card, which has a yearly fee of $175. For this, the card earns 3x points in my selected category for the year and 2x points in the other categories.
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- US purchases for advertising in select media
- US purchases at gas stations
- US purchases for shipping
- US computer hardware, software and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
To make the $175 annual fee make sense, I’d have to be spending at least $10,000 in one of those categories since I can earn 2x with the Blue Business Plus with no annual fee.
As you can see, AMEX has really cut the value of their other business cards with the introduction of the Blue Business Plus if you’re not spending over $50,000 per year.
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
The Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card has a $99 annual fee. If you’re a Delta flyer but don’t have status, the card is worth it if you check bags when you travel because the cardholder and up to 9 people on the same reservation get a free checked bag. The card also gives the holder and their party an earlier boarding group.
We fly on Delta enough to make having this card make sense, but we also have the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card, which provides the same benefits. Having both cards is unnecessary, so it makes sense to get rid of one of them. We kept the cards for at least one annual fee cycle, so hopefully, the AMEX RAT team won’t flag us as customers who are only trying to game the system, preventing us from getting any other cards from them.
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Premier & Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business card
These two cards from Chase are both discontinued. The Bonvoy Premier card has an $85 annual fee and provides a free night certificate at a property that costs 25,000 points or less. The Bonvoy Premier Plus has a $99 yearly fee, and the free night from the card is good at a property that requires up to 35,000 points.
Having cards with different point limits is a huge pain. You either have to use them on separate stays, or you’re not maximizing the value of the certificate. There are fewer properties eligible for a 25,000 point redemption since Marriott introduced peak pricing in 2019.
When redeeming these certificates this year, I used them at a hotel that only cost a little more than $100 a night. That’s not a huge value considering I needed to wait to find a place where we could use them. If I cancel both cards, I’ll still have a free night for up to 35,000 points from our AMEX Bonvoy card and one for a 50,000 point room from the AMEX Bonvoy Brilliant card.
AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard
The Aviator Red card has a $99 annual fee. Up until now, the significant advantage of keeping this card was the 10,000 AAdvantage miles we received each year at the card renewal. Well, that benefit went away last year, so the only thing we’re getting from the card is free checked bags and priority boarding.
Since I’ll have used up my American flight vouchers before the card renews, there’s no real reason for us to keep it. We don’t fly on American that often.
American Express Everyday Preferred
I can’t believe that I’m putting this card on the chopping block. However, it’s just not worth as much as it was before for us with the new cards we’ve added to our wallet. Using the Everyday Preferred more than 30 times per month gave you a 50% bonus on the number of points you earned so any spending would earn 1.5 Membership Rewards points.
Now that we get 2x points for all spending with the Blue Business Plus with no minimum number of transactions, the Everyday Preferred card has lost some of its appeal.
For a $95 annual fee, we’d have to get a large number of bonus points from our spending at grocery stores just to break even. When looking at a card and figuring out how you can use it just so you can end up where you started, it’s time to see if you want to keep the card.
Four of the seven cards on the cut list for this year are from American Express. That’s not what I expected when I started to make a list, but I have several cards that just aren’t providing anything for the annual fees we’re paying.
In regards to the Bonvoy cards, we mainly got them so we’d get Platinum status back when the stay credits from multiple cards counted towards your total. Now that there’s a max of 15 nights no matter how many cards you keep, we don’t need all of the cards and their free night certificates, which are difficult for us to use.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary
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Maybe it was because I had recently retired, but last year I decided I wanted to simplify things. I had 26 cards (none business) in April, and I have now chopped it down to 15. I am eyeing another 3 or so to cut, I did not get any new cards, and upgraded one (Hilton Surpass to Aspire). Some cuts had annual fees, but most did not.
I was careful about the age of the cuts. My scores are actually up slightly (826 and 830 on Credit Karma), and with just one new card in two years I am now well below the 5/24.
Things are simpler now, and there is now more potential if I do want to very selectively add any in the future,
Keep your Chase Marriott Business!
Of the two, it would be the one I kept because of the free night at 35,000 points. But we have so many free night certs it’s tough to use them all.
I’m not sure when your Aviator Red Card renews, but I just this month (Jan. 2020) received the 10,000 AA miles bonus. Not sure if it was a glitch (and whether or not they will try to do a claw back) or if the benefit will continue, but I did come through just last week.
Our card renews in March. We received the points last year so I’m not expecting them again. I guess I’ll wait to see if they show up as it was one of the only reasons I was keeping the card.
They discontinued the 10000 bonus but specified we would get it one more time this year. So if you cancel this year, they will probably do a clawback, as it was meant to be given only if you renew again this year. Better to wait until next year to cancel.
I did get the 10,000 points this year so I kept the card.
With Amex Everyday preferred, when you reach 30 transactions in a month, you only receive a 50% MR point bonus. So for non-bonus categories you get 1.5 MR points, not 2 as you indicate
Thanks for pointing that out. I knew this but spaced when writing the post.
You could downgrade the Amex preferred to the no Amex everyday no annual fee.card. It still holds Amex points in case you ever need that option.