My Personal Credit Card Strategy for 2024
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Over the past seven years, I’ve gone from having one credit card to having more than half a dozen. In fact, as someone who regularly writes about reward cards, I’m occasionally tempted to add even more to my collection. Yet, I mostly refrain from this as I want each card in my wallet to serve a purpose. To that point, while I didn’t actually add to my overall number of cards in 2023, there were still a couple of tweaks.
So, as we look to the new year, it’s once again time for a look at the cards I’ll be carrying in 2024 and how I’ll be making the most of each of them.
What Credit Cards I’m Using in 2024 and Why
What I’ll Be Using it For in 2024: Rent Day deals and perhaps some generic travel and non-category spending.
Going into 2024, the Bilt Mastercard remains the newest credit card in my portfolio. It also happened to have an eventful 2023 that saw the card adding transfer partners, features, and more. It also continued its monthly Rent Day promotion — which I’ll continue to take advantage of next year, including the double points offer.
As for how else I’ll be using the Bilt card, it really depends. For some travel or non-category purchases, it may make sense to use Bilt since its points can be redeemed via the Bilt Travel portal for 1.25¢ each or transferred to various partners. Also, since I managed to make Silver status, I’m curious to see what the “earn interest on points” feature is all about.
Overall, while it may not see as much use in 2024 due to reasons we’ll explore later, the Bilt Mastercard will still be firmly in my mix.
American Express Platinum Card
What I’ll Be Using it For in 2024: Flight bookings, Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings, Amex Offers, credits, and lounge access.
The American Express Platinum Card remains one of my personal favorites — which is good since its $695 annual fee means it certainly isn’t cheap! Thankfully, we’ve done well making up for that annual fee by regularly utilizing a number of the card’s credits, relying on it for airport lounge access, and racking up points when booking flights. I’m also a fan of the Amex Fine Hotels & Resort program. More accurately, I’m a fan of the program’s sweet spots (such as Vegas stays) and the $200-a-year credit cardholders can earn by making FHR or Hotel Collection bookings.
Elsewhere, while they’re not always unique to the Platinum card, Amex Offers have also helped us save money. For all of these reasons, while it may not see the most spending, we’ll definitely be getting a ton of use from our Platinum cards in the new year.
American Express Gold Card
What I’ll Be Using it For in 2024: Dining, groceries, and credits
While the Amex Platinum may be more about perks than points, the Gold Card does a better job of balancing the two. In terms of rewards, the 4x on dining and 4x at supermarkets categories are always winners for us and have helped bolster our American Express Membership Rewards Points balance.
Turning to credits, the $10 a month Dining Credit continues to work well for us via Grubhub pick-up orders (or Shake Shack purchases if we’re visiting a place where those exist) and the $10 a month in Uber Cash stacks with the similar Platinum Card credit, essentially give us another “free” meal each month. Because of this, the Gold Card is easily in contention for my most swiped — er, tapped — card overall.
Capital One SavorOne
What I’ll Be Using it For in 2024: Entertainment purchases, streaming, and some dining/groceries
Throughout 2023, I’ve probably mentioned the Capital One SavorOne card in more articles than any other. That’s because the no-annual-fee card is extremely easy to recommend and includes a lot of key categories. At the same time, some of those categories are also covered by some of my other cards. Nevertheless, the SavorOne comes in clutch for the Entertainment category — which includes everything from live events to theme parks to movie theatres and beyond. Plus, in addition to earning 3% in that category, it also earns 3% back on streaming service purchases.
Meanwhile, since points and miles don’t always translate nicely to cash, I also view the SavorOne as a good backup option for dining and grocery store purchases since it earns 3% cashback (as opposed to, say, 4x points like the Gold card). All things considered, despite the overlap, the SavorOne earns its spot in my wallet.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
What I’ll Be Using it For in 2024: Generic travel purchases and the hotel credit
Remember when I said that I typically want to apply for cards that I think fit a long-term role in my strategy? Well, the exception to that is the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which we applied for simply because the 100k points offer circa 2022 was too good to pass up. Still, that doesn’t mean we’ve “sock drawered” the card since. Instead, it’s been a good go-to for generic travel purchases not covered by any of our other cards. And, akin to the Bilt card, those points can be redeemed for 1.25¢ each via the Chase Travel portal.
We also had good luck redeeming the relatively new $50 annual hotel credit, which we happened to tap during an over-long multi-city trip in October. Accounting for that $50 credit, the effective annual fee for this card is $45. Is that worth it for how we use it? Maybe not — but it’s also not so much that I’m in a rush to product change.
What I’ll Be Using it For in 2024: Non-category spending where Apple Pay is available
Those paying attention may realize that, against my own advice, I don’t have a 2% flat-rate credit card. What I do have, however, is the Apple Card. Thus, as long as a place takes Apple Pay, I essentially have a 2% back card after all.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t note the uncertain path ahead for the Apple Card in 2024 (or 2025). While I don’t think it will go away entirely, if it did, it might convince me to finally get a real 2% card — or, better yet, finally get the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card I’ve been eyeing forever.
PNC Cash Rewards
What I’ll Be Using it For in 2024: Gas
The problem with having several credit cards is that not all of them get used — even if they have a specific function. Well, for a while, our previous PNC had largely been replaced except for the 4% on Gas category. Unfortunately, as we learned later, the rewards on this particular card expired. Coupled with the fact that you needed to reach at least $100 in rewards before they’d send you a check for your earnings, this meant that using the card at all was just throwing our cashback down the drain.
That was until just a couple of months ago when PNC replaced that former card with the PNC Cash Rewards card. While similar in many ways, this updated version has rewards that don’t expire and allows you to cash out once you hit at least $25. In other words, our 4% gas card is back in action for 2024!
What I’ll Be Using it For in 2024: My Internet bill
Speaking of replaced cards, the Barclays View is a card that was issued to me when the Uber Credit Card went away. I didn’t think much of the card (which you can’t even apply for) at the time — and, honestly, I still don’t. However, now that I’m paying my own Internet bill for the first time in over a decade, the View card is allowing me to earn 2% back on those purchases.
I realize this is a very minor and specific function, but it does allow me to keep this card active. That’s somewhat important since it’s one of my oldest accounts. Still, if it did go away, my heart wouldn’t be too broken.
Overall Thoughts on My 2024 Credit Card Strategy
Bilt without rent?
You may have noticed that I left the Bilt Mastercard’s defining feature — the ability to pay rent and earn rewards — off of my list of ways in which I’ll be using the card in 2024. Well, there’s a good reason for that: I’ll no longer be renting next year. Recently, my wife and I bought a house and so that perk of the Bilt card will sadly be alluding us.
The question then becomes, “Is the Bilt card worth it to a non-renter?” I’ll be finding out soon enough and will be sure to share more on the subject as I gain more insight.
The rebirth of two cards
As I noted, two of my long-held cards suddenly “came back from the dead” — or at least stopped being dead to me. First, the PNC Cash Rewards card replaced my wife’s previous PNC card and took away some of the issues that caused us to largely stop using it. Meanwhile, while the Barclays View card that was issued to me when the Uber Visa was finally put out of its misery still doesn’t compare to what the card was in its heyday, at least I can now use one of the categories to some effect.
I don’t really know what the lesson here is, but I suppose it’s that situations change for better or for worse — and they can always come back around.
Bracing for a revamp
On a similar note, while I’m happy with what the Amex Gold and Platinum Cards currently offer in terms of credits, it’s not lost on me that this slate of features can definitely change. In fact, the Gold Card may be technically due for an update as the Business version just saw an overhaul in October. Obviously, it’s hard to speculate on whether any changes would be better or worse for me at this point… but, should any updates come to fruition, they could definitely impact my overall strategy going forward.
So, when I did the 2023 version of this article, I mentioned how one of my fears as it relates to adding new cards to my wallet is that it’s more payments to manage. Well, I guess I called my own shot there as, for the first time ever, I was late on a payment earlier this year simply because I forgot to check the due date. Thankfully, as I shared, Wells Fargo (who issues the Bilt card) did do me the courtesy of reversing the late fee and interest charges, but it was certainly a wake-up call.
Since then, I’ve taken to adding all of my credit card due dates to my Google Calendar with alerts. This system seems to be working well, so I suppose I could add other cards to the mix under such parameters. Despite that, though, I’m still a little shy about spreading myself too thin for the time being.
Broadly speaking, 2023 wasn’t a disruptive year for my credit card mix. As we head into 2024, my strategy remains largely the same — although the rebirth of two cards and the self-inflicted nerfing of another may come into play. At the same time, I am bracing for some potential shakeups in the new year as card issuers strive to keep their products “fresh.” Could this lead to a much different 2025 line-up? We’ll have to wait and see.
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