I’ll be honest, when I got into this whole credit card game, this isn’t a post I ever thought I would be writing. Some 10 years ago, as I was signing up for my first rewards card, I though I’d be chasing first class air travel, 5 star accommodations, etc. forever. Welp, times, they are a changing.
Back in March I fled New York City for the comfy confines of Upstate NY (where my parents live), and I’ve been here ever since. In advance of that maneuver, I sold all equities as protection against what I believed was an incoming market crash. As some time passed, I decided the time was right to act on a real estate investment I’d been planning on for some time.
While I don’t want to get into the details of that investment in this post (we’ll cover that later), I do want to talk about how it drove me to make certain decisions about my wallet.
For starters, I knew the days of spending thousands per year on annual fees was over. Yes, if you’re able to reap the rewards from those fees they’re worth it, but would I be reaping them any longer? Unlikely. I’m off the opinion that while air travel will rebound, it won’t be the “same” for quite a while, if it ever returns to the ways of pre-virus travel. Additionally, even if travel does return, I knew that I was “done” traveling, at least the way I once had.
In years passed I’d formed a habit of traveling to places like; Chicago, Las Vegas, California, Florida, and more. I’d visit these places to see friends, attend live events, taste the local cuisines, etc. This was fun, exciting, and something I thoroughly enjoyed. It was also the genesis for this website. My first post was about a vegan restaurant I’d tried while visiting Los Angeles on business.
My new reality however, is that I “live” in NYC and now own an investment/vacation property which should consume the majority of my time and money for the foreseeable future. Moreover, I’ve discovered new interests in things like woodworking, landscaping, modern homesteading, and more. It is for all of these reasons, that I don’t anticipating traveling the way that I once did. The natural conclusion then, is that the wallet I once had is no longer suitable to my new lifestyle.
What I canceled
The first card I decided to get rid of was the Delta Platinum Amex. This card was a primary workhorse of mine for much of the last 3-4 years. I routinely spent in excess of $50,000 on this card so as to qualify for medallion status without needing to fly. In my first year spending like that I earned Platinum, then Gold, and I’ve been Silver for the last couple of years.
Amex recently increased the annual fee on the card, and for my money, it just wasn’t worth it. Medallion status is investing, and necessary, if you’re flying a lot, but I had no plans of doing so.
Next up, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless (formerly the Premier). This card has bought me box seats at Madison Square Garden for; Phish, Post Malone, Justin Timberlake, and Chris Stapleton. Whats more, I was able to share those experiences with those closest to me. The new reality however, is that public events of similar scale are canceled, and I don’t anticipate them coming back any time soon. With the annual fee coming due at the beginning of June, I knew it was time to move on.
Next, the American Airlines Aviator Red. There isn’t a whole lot to say about this card, really. I signed up for a decent bonus 12 months ago, never really used the card (or the points), and didn’t want to pay the annual fee. I still have 90k+ AA miles, hopefully I find an opportunity to use them in the future.
Lastly, and most significantly, goodbye Chase Sapphire Reserve. The podcast episode wherein I signed up for the Reserve is still my most popular episode of all time. The card has also been a primary workhorse since I signed up given its bonus offerings on travel and dining. While Chase has made some changes to deal with the recent virus fall out, they’re not that compelling for me. I had long considered moving on from Chase, but was hamstrung by the points I’d accrued. Ultimately, I made the decision to use those points, for cash, towards a new computer, thus freeing me from the trifecta.
These days my wallet is primarily driven by the Freedom Unlimited, Wells Fargo Propel, and the Capital One Savor card. In short, I am more interested in cash back over travel rewards. I’ve set myself for a soft landing by acquiring an array of miles + credits across some of my most frequently used airlines.
Is it possible that someday I’ll signup for these cards again, and/or jump back into the travel game? Absolutely, but not any time soon.
What does this mean for Pursuing Points? I’m not sure, but I’ll be honest, I’m excited. I’d long tried to “compete” with the likes of TPG and other points bloggers, with little success to show for it. Now I can focus on the types of products often neglected by the “big guys”, and perhaps build a more engaged audience. Additionally, I’m very interested in helping folks go from little or no financial knowledge, bad or no credit score, to building a healthy financial lifestyle.