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I have created a credit card organizer to keep all the important details of my travel credit cards in order. The information that I have included on this credit card organizer include renewal date, credits offered by the card, spending categories to use the card and transfer partners, if applicable. To get your own blank credit card organizer just subscribe to Points-Driven Traveler with the form at the bottom of the page. I am going to go through each of the categories that I have included on my credit card organizer form.
My Credit Card Organizer:
My first category is the date of credit card approval. This gives me one area to look to see how many cards I have applied and been approved for within a certain period of time. This information is important to me because it helps me navigate around Chase’s 5/24 unwritten rule. The 5/24 is Chase’s way of mitigating their risk by not approving applicants for any of their cards if the applicant has applied for 5 cards within the last 24 months, regardless of approval or denial and including all issuers.
I included each card’s renewal date for the ones that have an annual fee, which helps me keep track of when they are due. If for some reason I am thinking about downgrading or cancelling a card, having the renewal date on this chart allows me to be proactive with asking the issuer for a retention offer or downgrading the card before the annual fee is due. Knowing the date of renewal keeps me from being surprised, affording me time to adjust the monthly budget.
This is another important category that I have included because these can frequently change. It can be difficult keeping track of how much each one is, especially with multiple credit cards with annual fees. This column is also beneficial in assisting me with budgeting so that I know how much to budget for the month of the renewal.
Many of the premium travel cards give at least one credit, many of them give multiple credits. Once you accumulate multiple cards it can become difficult to keep track of each one’s credits. Since these credits help offset the annual fee, you definitely do not want to forget to take full advantage. Some of these are very general travel credits that are good for a large variety of charges, others are for retailers, food delivery services, airlines, wifi on airlines, resorts and TSA Precheck and global entry.
Another area that can be difficult to keep track of is the bonus categories that each card earns. Add to that some cards have rotating quarterly categories while others earn a flat rate on all purchases. Some other bonus categories include: grocery stores/supermarkets, airlines in general and some with certain brands, gas stations, certain hotel brands, general travel, dining and restaurants and streaming services. In order to maximize everyday purchases to ensure you accumulate the most points possible it is important to pay close attention to which cards reward purchases in each category.
In this section I included perks that come with each card. Some benefits that come with premium cards are: lounge access, free checked bag, hotel elite status, and weekend night certificate. Other features that I find important are which cards come with no foreign transaction fees and FICO credit scores. These perks are included with the card and maximizing them will help to offset the annual fee.
Many of these cards come with some sort of insurance benefit package. Some include primary or secondary care rental insurance, return protection, lost baggage, trip delay and extended warranty. I got to utilize the purchase protection benefit that I have with the American Express Platinum card earlier this year. Marshall and I were in NYC and one of his new watches got broken. Luckily we used the Platinum card due to an American Express offer connected to it. The process of filing a claim was very easy, they did not even ask to see pictures of the damage. The money was credited back to the account in a timely manner. This benefit alone saved us $128 for that incident.
This section is similar to the bonus category column but this one shows which specific categories I use each card. I make this decision based on the amount of points given per dollar spent, which card issuer the merchant accepts and which protections are provided through each card. Some of the areas that I have dedicated to certain credit cards are: airfare, Hilton Hotels stays, non-Hilton stays, rental cars and American Airlines inflight purchases. In addition, the Chase Freedom has rotating quarterly categories that I use it for (see this post for more details). This is an important section to give attention because it will help maximize the points earned on all purchases.
This section is for the cards that are part of the flexible programs (Chase, American Express, Citi and Capital One). Points earned with co-branded cards are usually with one program and are not able to transfer. In my credit card organizer I have listed each airline and hotel (if there are any) transfer partners for each program. For the airlines I have also included whether they are apart of an airline alliance and if so which one.
I have not included the transfer rate or the estimated transfer time for each partner, this is meant to be a quick reference guide. This will allow you to find which partner you want and which flexible program it is apart of, and then transfer rate and time frame can be researched with the appropriate card issuer.
The credit card organizer is a quick reference guide to help organize the application date, annual fee, bonus categories, perks, and transfer partners for each of the cards in your wallet. The larger your portfolio gets, the more confusing it can become. By staying organized with the credit card index it ensures that you are prepared for when the annual fee becomes due and that the right card is used for purchases to maximize points earnings. The best part is that the credit card organizer is free when you subscribe to our newsletter below!