Don't miss out! Join the thousands of people who subscribe to our once-daily email or our free miles and points Facebook group with all the best travel news. Some links on this page may pay me a commission - as always, thanks for your support if you use them

Proper card maintenance is key to living in the miles and points world.  I’m sure I am not alone in having what many people would consider a ludicrous amount of credit cards.  As I said when being interviewed on the CBS Sunday Morning show, between my wife and I we have around 40 cards.

Which isn’t to say that YOU should have that many – I’m a firm believer that each individual person should go only as fast as you understand and feel comfortable and above all, you should not sign up for a credit card because some guy on the Internet said that you should!

I’ve been doing this for a long time and understand the risks.  It’s up to each individual to learn, understand and weigh the risks vs rewards themselves.

Credit card maintenance

The very first thing I do with every new card of mine is sign it up for autopay.  That way I know that no matter what, my cards will get paid and I won’t have to deal with any late payments, fees or interest.  I don’t put a ton of spending on all of my cards, so I am comfortable that I have enough money in the bank to pay off each and every card when they’re due.  I also regularly monitor my transactions to make sure nothing crazy is happening

(SEE ALSO: Hit by fraud! 5 bogus Walmart.com purchases on my account)

(SEE ALSO: HACKED! Tons of mail subscription emails (and what I did about it))

Going through 44 credit cards

The other day, I finally got around to going through all of the cards in my awesome credit card organizer and matching those up with my and my wife’s logins on each of the bank websites.  With each card, I was trying to make sure I had the card in the right place, that it was one I wanted to keep, and just get things organized. Since I know many of you are in similar situations, I thought it might be interesting to share.

Here’s the notes I took for action items

  • American Express
    • Decide on Hilton / Surpass cards – I ended up deciding to keep my Amex Hilton cards as it does not look like the new Amex cards will count as new cards
    • Add 2 new AUs for Platinum card – Since I have the Ameriprise Platinum, your first 3 AUs are free (for the first year).  So I added my older 2 kids and that will give 2 more Global Entry credits AND finally allow us to all get into the Centurion lounges again, since 4 of us have cards and we can each guest in 2 more.
    • Dan – close Delta Amex as annual fee just hit
  • Bank of America
    • Carolyn get check for one of her Alaska cards – she has a negative balance and the account is closed
    • Close one of my Alaska cards
    • Review the 2/3/4 rule – two cards per rolling 2 months, three cards per rolling 12 months, and four cards per rolling 24 months
  • Barclay
    • Close Aviator cards Dan and Carolyn
    • Spend Arrival miles

  • Chase
    • Check Marriott annual fee and close
  • Citibank
    • Dan make Citi Prestige airline credit and decide if I close it – SEE ALSO: Am I really going to pay an $450 annual fee?
    • Close AA cards? Keep one open for 10% mileage rebate
    • Close Hilton cards before they get transferred to American Express
  • First Bank
    • Close Carolyn old Best Western card
    • Set reminder to close Best Western cards
  • Synchrony
    • Set reminder to close Cathay Pacific cards
  • BBVA
    • Close BBVA Compass card – with Serve nerfed and the 5% cashback during Finals week and All Star game weekend nerfed, I don’t really have a need for this card

I also noted that I have 4 free hotel nights that I need to use (2 IHG, 1 Hyatt and 1 Marriott).  I have a few cards that I want to apply for and a few more that I am closing due to not wanting to pay the annual fee

I still have quite a few cards I know!  Any recommendations for me?  Leave em in the comments

Sign up for our once-daily email with the latest tips and tricks on how to travel for free / cheap. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!