Credit Card Strategy 2022: What’s In My Wallet

What’s In My Wallet – My Credit Card Strategy (2023)

I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. Citibank is an advertising partner of this site, as is American Express, Chase, Barclays and Capital One. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same). Terms apply to the offers and benefits listed on this page.

Here’s a window into my personal credit card strategy – and whether I’m walking the walk.

I’ve cleaned out my wallet and I’m not carrying nearly as many credit cards on a daily basis any longer. Still, my wallet is a great window in the spending choices I make every day. What gets a wallet slot, and what cards I have but keep in a drawer, go a long way towards illustrating how I put my mileage and spending strategies into practice. Sharing this also adds a bit to my transparency to my credit card strategy as I cover credit card rewards.

Here’s a peek into what’s really going on behind the scenes of my daily spending life.

credit card strategy my wallet

My Wallet Credit Card Strategy

I don’t have any cards I’m trying to meet minimum spend on at the moment, so the cards I’m carrying are meant to (1) maximize return on my spending and (2) be available to swipe or show to obtain benefits.

What do I spend money on? Airfare, hotels, restaurants and groceries. I have other spending items, but those are mostly online purchases or recurring ‘set it and forget it’ expenses that don’t require the most rewarding card to be in my wallet (we’ll get to cards I have in a drawer next).

  • The American Express® Gold Card is really underappreciated. It’s probably the best Membership Rewards-earning card overall: 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X) and 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on This is my favorite card for restaurant spend (though haven’t been using it that way lately) and for grocery spend – my wife and I can maximize spending in that category.
  • I have been putting restaurant spend on my Bilt Mastercard, though, because even though its 3x on dining is less than the 4x I could be earning with the Amex Gold this helps me to diversity my points, since I’m working with a seven figure Chase and Amex balances already.

    Bilt is the only card that transfers to both American AAdvantage and United MileagePlus, and also has programs including Aeroplan, Hyatt and Turkish – so they’re valuable points – and this diversification nis why it makes sense for me even though I am not a renter and can’t take advantage of the truly unique selling proposition for the card which is earning up to 50,000 points per year paying rent at no fee (something that would cost $1425 per year using a service like

  • A majority of my hotel nights are with Hyatt and so I carry the The World Of Hyatt Credit Card which earns 4x on Hyatt stays. I love that every $5000 spend on the card earns two elite nights, and that the card not only comes with an annual category 1-4 free night but a second one after $15,000 spend each year. That makes $15,000 of spending on the card super rewarding (free night and 6 elite nights) especially when the spending is in bonus categories. Not my bag as such but this is also the only card I can think of that bonuses fitness and gym memberships.
  • For airfare I find The Platinum Card® from American Express to be a no-brainer, 5 points per dollar for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year).

    I also carry the card for access to American Express Centurion airport lounges; access to Delta lounges when flying Delta same-day, and Plaza Premium and Escape lounges. The card gives me Hilton Honors Gold (I don’t use the Marriott Gold from the card because I’m currently Marriott Titanium).

    And I make the economics of the card work – this is a $695 annual fee card (see rates and fees) – because I make real use of the statement credit benefits it comes with to cover expenses I’d really otherwise incur.

    I’ve been using the $200 airline fee credit with Southwest Airlines quite successfully; the $240 Digital Entertainment Credit has been covering my New York Times online subscription and SiriusXM subscription; $200 Uber Cash is something I’d spend anyway; The CLEAR® Credit covers me and my wife (my toddler comes with us through CLEAR free); $50 Saks credit semi-annually buys my toiletries. That doesn’t even count the $200 Fine Hotels & Resorts credit offer or $155 Walmart+ Credit, which have terms and details to look at.

  • For unbonused spend I’m using my Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card which earns unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel, plus unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases and lets you transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs, and offers a premium rewards card at a lower annual fee than several other cards in its class.

    It’s crucial in my view never to earn just one point per dollar on spend. I think of the Citi Double Cash Card‘s no annual fee and 2% cash back as the opportunity cost of spending – if you earn just one point per dollar then you’re effectively buying that point for 2 cents and no mileage currency is worth two cents in my opinion. But 2 Capital One miles? I value each one at 1.6 cents, so I consider the lowest rebate eon my spending I achieve to be 3.2%.

  • Finally I’m also carrying a Priority Pass card, my Texas Drivers License, and my office swipe card even though I don’t travel to my office in DC twice a month anymore.

My Desk Drawer Credit Card Strategy

These are cards I have that I don’t use often, but have a strategic purpose, or cards I may have already gotten value out of but don’t plan on keeping.

What I Need To Do Next

There’s not a lot on my long-term credit card strategy want list at the moment. I have myself well-covered both in terms of maximizing points-earning for the kind of spend that I do and in terms of the benefits that I value.

If I were under 5/24 I’d look to the Aeroplan® Credit Card though t I don’t really need Star Alliance Gold status from spend and don’t fly Air Canada enough to take advantage of Aeroplan’s status.

I can even get myself under 5/24 while getting new small business cards from American Express and Citibank, and I’ll soon be eligible again for the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® which is offering 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening. This card has a $0 annual fee the first year (then $99).

My credit card strategy also involves waiting for the next big thing!

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, click here.

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