Bottom of the Barrel: Have I Gotten All the Points & Miles Cards I Possibly Can?

I wanna type out loud for a sec to assess which card offers I can still earn. Before I begin, I know there aren’t many.After all, I currently have about 30 cards and have rotated through many others since I started the points & miles game in 2012 (and heavily in 2013).

which cards are left

My first award trip was to Hawaii in 2013, with Delta miles and Hilton points

So what’s left for me? I know it’s not much.

Let’s take a deep dive.

Which cards are left that I can even get?

Arranged by bank, in order of most to least coveted cards. Typing as I think of each. 📓

1. Chase

LOL/24. Ever since the 5/24 rule came out, I’ve been toast. You can’t get most Chase cards if you’ve opened 5+ cards in the last 24 months. Some co-branded cards are exempt:

I dunno if Chase will give me any more cards, though. I currently have 7 Chase cards (Sapphire Reserve, Ink Plus, Freedom, IHG, British Airways, United, and Hyatt). And was brutally denied for a Chase Freedom Unlimited. That one really stung.

a crowd of people at a fair

Chase was nice enough to cover my flights to Oktoberfest in 2014. Thanks, Chase!

If I could pick one NOT under 5/24, I’d probably go for the Ritz-Carlton card to get a $100 flight discount every time I fly with a companion on a paid flight. Although it’s also nice to get more Marriott/Starwood points. Hmmm… Fun to think about, anyway. 😝

2. Amex

Oh, Amex. That once per lifetime rule has taken so much from me (you can only earn the bonus one time per card – period).

I’ve had nearly every Amex card at a certain point in the last 5 years. Some I got for the bonus. Others I tried to like but couldn’t (ahem, the EveryDay Preferred), so closed them after a while.

a rooftops of a city

Amex covered my hotel stay in Prague. How nice of them!

Others, I’m saving for best-ever offers, like the Business Platinum Card Amex (see it here). Let’s see, I’ve had most:

  • Membership Rewards cards (Premier Rewards Gold, Platinum Card, Mercedes-Benz Platinum Card, EveryDay, EveryDay Preferred)
  • Hilton cards (all except Aspire and the small business version, which I’ll prolly get next)
  • Delta cards (except Reserve and small business versions)
  • Starwood cards

So there are 3, maybe 4 Amex cards I’ve never had. Real slim pickings, dang.

I currently have 6 Amex credit cards (SPG personal and small biz, Blue Business Plus, 2 Hilton no annual fee, and Hilton Ascend), so I’d likely have to close one or two of them to get another new one, though.

3. Citi

Ugh, Citi’s new rules exclude me from a lot. You can’t get a new Citi card bonus within each “family of brands” if you’ve opened OR closed another card in the family in the last 24 months. The biggest are ThankYou and American Airlines cards, which are the lion’s share of their arsenal.

I closed my ThankYou Premier card in the last 2 years. And opened a new American Airlines card within the same timeframe.

a seat in a plane

Citi did me a solid and got my Business Class flight to Brussels. I owe ya, Citi!

Not that I’d get approved for more anyway. I currently have 5 Citi cards (2 American Airlines card, Prestige, AT&T Access More, Diamond Preferred). I could maybe get one more. But nothing’s worthwhile (I don’t want an Expedia card).

So yeah, see ya around, I guess…

5. Barclaycard

Barclays is a conservative bank. And will only approve you for 1, mayyybe 2 cards per year. I currently have the Arrival no fee and American Airlines Red Aviator cards. I’ve had my eye on the JetBlue Plus card. But like, JetBlue has literally one flight from Dallas (DFW-BOS).

a group of people walking in a market

I’ve booked two trips to Japan now. Thanks for helping out with the American miles, Barclaycard!

And the Wyndham card might be worth a look. I’ll wait until it offers 45,000 Wyndham points, though. Until then, I’m gonna let Barclaycard marinate.

6. US Bank

Same for US Bank – conservative. I have the Altitude Reserve and Club Carlson no fee cards.

a large group of people in a building

Jammed on that Club Carlson BOGO like crazy, including in Bratislava

I could maybe get a FlexPerks card (never had one), so that’s in my back pocket. Man, how I miss the days of Club Carlson-ing through Europe with that BOGO deal. *wistful sigh*

8. Capital One

Guh. I have applied twice for Capital One small business cards and been denied both times.

a yellow text on a white background

You too, buddy

Not messing with them any more.

What’s left?

To recap, I can get:

  • No Chase cards
  • An Amex card or two – waiting on best-ever offers because once per lifetime rule
  • No Citi cards
  • Maybe a Wyndham card down the road from Barclaycard
  • Maybe a FlexPerks card from US Bank
  • No Capital One cards
a hand holding a brown bag in front of a building

You and me, Hilton. We’ll do this with Amex by our side

Wowwww. So this is what it’s come to. I guess I’ll hit up that Hilton small business Amex and a new Alaska small business card. This is definition of “taking what you can get,” man. Woofers.

If I had a clean slate…

These rules all popped up within the last 5 years, since I started collecting points & miles cards.

Even still, I’ve done well to pick up ~30 cards along the way. So it’s not like I haven’t had a great time. Au contraire, I’ve had dozens of amazing award trips!

It’s just that, moving forward, I have to be cautious and tactical about which cards I apply for – what’s left, that is.

If I were brand new to points & miles today, I’d get:

  • All the Chase cards I wanted that are under 5/24 FIRST (basically all Ultimate Rewards cards – Sapphire Reserve, Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, Ink Business Preferred)
  • 2 Chase Southwest cards if I wanted to earn the Companion Pass and travel domestically
  • An Amex card or two (SPG personal or small biz for sure because those will likely be discontinued soon)
  • A Citi card or two
  • Fill in around the edges with cards from other banks, or Barclaycard Red Aviator to get the bonus after a single purchase + annual fee payment

How different it would all be if I were starting over now. Funny to think about. A bit sad, too.

How I still play the game

And I gotta say, despite not being able to access most credit cards any more, I do pretty well. I already have a lot of travel booked for 2018. And that’s really all I ever hope for.

Seriously, thank you so much for using my links to get new cards over the years. It means the world to me – literally. 🌎

Bottom line

This was quite the walk down memory lane! I’ve come a long way in the past 5 years. And wow, opened a lot of credit cards.

But it started with just one card (the Chase Sapphire Preferred it was). And went on from there. I still can’t believe all the amazing places I’ve traveled. And looking forward to many more points & miles award trips.

I might be down to a couple of Amex cards, and the odd Alaska small business card here and there. It’ll be few and far between from here on out, I’m afraid. But I still do well to rake in the points, especially thanks to my Airbnb business and referral links.

Where are you in your points journey? Are there still lots of cards you want to (or can) get? Or like me, are you at the bottom of the barrel? 

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

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  1. Only 30 cards total?
    Comenity has a few cards, as does Synchrony.
    Some of us have passed 64 cards a long time ago.

    • 60+ open and active cards? Oh my word! Well, I have some catching up to do! That’s a LOT of annual fees to keep up with/calls to cancel. Wowza!

  2. Harlan

    Have you tried going for any Cap One personal cards i.e. Venture? Do you think you would be denied or ?


    • Pretty sure I’d be denied. I mean, I can try one more time just to see but don’t have a good feeling about Cap One approvals in general. I think they don’t like my number of hard pulls/recent accounts. Although I have never had one of their cards… Sigh. Maybe I’ll try again later this year, one more time.

    • I bet I could get that card like *that* with instant approval. Will look into it for sure. No PR address here but will check into that as well. Thank you for the ideas!

  3. Amex will continue to issue Small Business cards and a new ultra-premium card for SPG/Marriott once the merger completes. The SPG Personal card will go away, though.

    • Bless them for doing that. New cards is the only way I can get more points with them! Very curious to see how those cards will look – and what SPG will look like in 2019 and beyond. This one is high on my radar. Thank you for reminding!

    • That’s def a good one to get for the sign-up bonus! Think it’ll ever go higher than 25K? I couldn’t see keeping it long-term with the $95 annual fee. I’ve never had a card with TD before. I’d like to get at least 30K miles out of the whole deal. Definitely one to keep an eye on. Thank you!

  4. AA business from Barclays and Citi; Citi business doeant apply to their 24 month rule.

    Avianca, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa are other options

    • I dunno with Barclays or Citi will approve me for another card, but can always try. Might throw one of them in when I apply for other cards and see how it goes.

      Had my eye on the Avianca or Cathay Pacific card, esp since both are Citi TY partners. Great options to consider – thank you!

  5. First Bank Card has JAL, ANA & Best Western. They used to have La Quinta.
    Wells Fargo cash wise gives $200 and the propel card gives you travel credits.
    After that there are other good cash back cards from smaller banks (PNC comes to mind).
    So you still have plenty of options for miles, points and cash back.

    • Awesome tips! I always heard you needed to have a checking account with WF to get one of their cards. I’ll look into these – thank you for adding, Marshall!

      • I’ve heard the rumor that some Wells Fargo cards are only approved for those that also have a checking account, and that they may look for a year’s experience with the checking account.
        Sometimes their offers are attached to accepting another offer – there was a business credit card offer that was preapproved during the new (additional) account opening process, but not under the existing account itself.
        The Propel Amex is only available via phone or in branch, and rumored to go away after March 2018. Of course I picked that up!

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