FAQ Basics

How to Get a Credit Card Retention Offer

One of the most commonly asked questions this week is how to get retention offers. In case you're not familiar with what a retention offer is, the idea is you call in, and the credit issuer gives you an offer for you to keep the card.

Why do retention offers exist?

For example, let's say you have the Platinum Card from American Express and you came out ahead in Year 1. In Year 2 and onwards, the effective annual fee is usually $150 if you can take advantage of all of the travel credits and benefits.

Credit card companies make money off transaction fees every time you use the card. This also means that retention offers are based on how much you spend on your card, meaning if you only hit the minimum spend, you'll have a smaller retention offer (if any). On their end, it's a math equation to see if they can get positive expected value from your spend.

When you call into the retention department, the typical offer is $50-$200 for the Amex Platinum. My goal is to get an offer that is worth at least $150 to break even from the annual fee or come out ahead.

If you don't break even, then you can either downgrade or cancel the card. If you don't have any other premium cards, then it may be worth keeping, depending on how much you enjoy lounge access at airports, status at hotels, and benefits.

To illustrate another example of why companies have retention offers,  let's look at internet/cable companies. In the SF Bay Area, there's Xfinity and AT&T. When you signup, the contract is usually a year long contract.

In the first year, there's usually a promotional offer, let's say $50/month. After the first year, the price goes up to the regular $80/month. When the first contract is up, you have a decision to make:

1. Cancel the contract and go with another provider
2. Negotiate another offer

Retention offers with credit cards is the same idea. Instead of being a service you're paying for, it's based on how much spend you put on the credit card.

How to get a retention offer

Most banks have a retention department. When you call the number on the back of your card, tell them you're thinking about canceling, and you want to talk to someone about retention offers.

Once you're in the retentions department, you'll need to explain your story again. Depending on who you're calling, you want them to bid against each other. For example, if you're calling American Express, you ought to mention you're spending most of your money on the Citi Prestige (or another competitor), which is why you want to cancel the Amex card. YMMV.

Important: be sure to call when the retention department is open during regular business hours. For most credit issuers, the retention department is by phone only and not chat or email. It's worth a call, especially if you use the card often.

  • American Express Retention Department Direct Number: 1-800-452-3945
  • Hours of operation: 9:00am -10:30pm EST

One thing to consider is retention offers are based on the credit issuer and the card. Some issuers like Bank of America don't have retention offers at all.

My Retention Offer Script

It’s important that you don’t start the phone call with “I want to cancel my credit card,” unless that’s what you actually want to do. Some customer service agents won’t even bother to try keeping you and cancel the card because that’s what you wanted.

Here’s my exact script that I use when I call in for a retention offer:

Agent: Hello, thanks for calling [ credit issuer here ]. How can we help you today?

Me: Hi there, I’m thinking about canceling my [ card name here ]; just wanted to see if any retention offers are available or associated with my account.

Agent: What makes you want to cancel?

Me: It’s mainly the annual fee.

Agent: Did you know about x,y,z benefit?

Me: Yes, I have used the benefits, but I just wanted to see if it makes sense to keep the card or not since I also have [ insert competing card here ]. Do you see any retention offers in the system for me?

Agent: You can use points to pay the annual fee…

Me: I have a low point balance that wouldn’t even cover the annual fee [ or insert any other excuse here ]

Agent: Will [offer ] convince you to keep the card?

Me: Yes, the bonus [offer ] would be great!

Agent: Anything else we can help with today?

[ Get a reference # here if you want it ]

Me: Is there a reference number I can have in case the [offer ] doesn’t post?

Agent: [ reference info ]

Me: Great, thank you for your help! :)

Bottom line

The main takeaway is that if you have a credit card with an annual fee coming up, and you won't get positive expected value in Year 2, it doesn't hurt to call the retention line.

A lot of people are scared to call in because they're afraid of getting rejected, but there's not a downside. Worst case, nothing happens.

Want to help the community? We're gathering data points to keep track of retention offers people receive from different credit issuers. Feel free to tell us about your experience in the survey below. Responses will be made public here.


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How to Get Approved for the Capital One Venture X Card?
Credit Cards 101

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a great option for those looking to earn rewards on their spending and enjoy travel benefits.

With the card, you'll earn 2 miles per dollar spent on most purchases and a generous welcome bonus. You'll also be eligible for travel credits and airport lounge access. 

However, applicants must meet specific credit requirements to qualify for the intro offer, so it's best to understand what is needed before applying. 

If you're considering the Venture X card for your credit card setup, what's the best way to get approved? 

We'll explain how to increase your chances of getting approved for the Venture X card and provide specific details you should know about Capital One's top travel reward cards.

What are the Benefits of Capital One Venture X Credit Card?

There are plenty of benefits associated with the Venture X card. Although there is a hefty annual fee, there are benefits that can offset the fee if you can utilize them:

A $300 Annual Travel Credit

The $300 annual travel credit will automatically be applied to your statement when you use your card on eligible travel-related purchases from Capital One Travel, such as hotel stays, transportation, car rentals, etc.

10,000 Bonus Miles for the Cardholder's Anniversary

With travel miles worth an estimated 1 CPP and up to 3 CPP when redeemed with credit partners, this annual benefit can be worth up to $300.

Plaza Premium, Capital One Lounge, and Priority Pass Membership 

It's no surprise that Capita One's best travel reward card provides exceptional travel perks for the cardholder and up to four authorized users. With complimentary access to the Plaza Premium, Capital One Lounge, and Priority Pass networks of airport lounges, the Venture X card can provide a comfortable experience for business and leisure travelers. 

A same-day boarding pass is required to enter the lounge. 

Important note: you need to activate the Priority Pass benefit by enrolling. 

Hertz President's Circle Status

If Hertz is your rental company of choice, the Venture X's benefit of Hertz President's Circle Status will be useful. This status provides special discounts and upgrades at participating locations, making it a valuable perk for frequent travelers.

Note: you must enroll in the benefit. Terms apply.


How to Get Approved for the Venture X Card: Optimal Strategy

Here's what you need to know about getting approved for Capital One Venture X.

While many of Capital One's cards target subprime borrowers, the Venture X requires excellent credit. However, there are other considerations when accepting or rejecting an application. 

Here are some tips to help improve your odds of getting accepted:

Reduce your recent application velocity before applying. 

Capital One examines how many credit applications you've made in the past two years. If it's too high, they may reject your application. Before applying for the Venture X card, limit your credit inquiries to one or two within the last six months. 

Consider how many open revolving lines you have.

The Venture X is an early to mid-game credit card that most people should focus on after applying for Chase cards. Suppose you're searching for cards that fit a late-game setup and have several revolving lines. 

In that case, consider applying for a different card since Capital One often rejects applicants with several open revolving lines. Your milage may vary.

Should You Apply for Capital One Venture X Card?

The Capital One Venture X card is a great choice for frequent travelers looking to utilize travel benefits.

You can offset the annual fee by utilizing benefits and the $300 travel credit. The 10,000-mile anniversary bonus is also a nice touch. 

Before applying for this credit card, ensure your credit score is excellent, and you haven't applied for too many cards in the last two years. 

With these considerations, you can increase your chances of approval for the Capital One Venture X card. 

YouTube Video

Amex Centurion Lounge FAQs
Airport Lounges

Whenever we create a video about the Centurion Lounge, a few common questions seem to be asked. We'll answer them all in this post.

Are the food and drinks complimentary?

Yes, food and drink is complimentary and unlimited. Rule of thumb, don't take more than you can eat. I hate wasting food. The food at the lounge is well stocked and refilled often.

If you visit during peak lunch or dinner hours, there might be a line because everyone is waiting for the entrees. Wait 15 minutes, and the line will most likely disappear.

One thing to consider is that hot breakfast is served after 5:30 am, and hot dinner is served until 9 pm.

Who can access the lounge?

Complimentary lounge access is available to the following cardholders:

  • Platinum Card® Members
  • Business Platinum Card® Members
  • Corporate Platinum Card® Members
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Card Members
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business Card Members
  • Centurion® Members

You must have a same-day boarding pass to access the lounge. Delta Reserve cardmembers must have a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight.

What is the guest policy?

U.S. Platinum Card® and U.S. Business Platinum Card® Members can pay a $50 USD fee for each guest (or $30 for children aged 2 through 17). 

To qualify for complimentary guest access for up to two guests per visit, you must spend $75,000 in eligible purchases on the Card each calendar year.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Card Members can bring up to two guests per visit for $50/per person who is also traveling on a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight.

Centurion Members may bring up to two complimentary guests at no additional charge.

What are the Centurion locations and hours?

A: You can find a full list of locations and hours here. Note that lounge hours and openings are subject to change based on COVID restrictions and renovations. Check the Centurion website or American Express app for the most up to date information.

Are drinks free?

Yes, non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks are complimentary. Each lounge has a unique signature cocktail menu.

What do the lunch/dinner menus look like?

You can find sample menus for each location on the Centurion Lounge's website: https://www.thecenturionlounge.com/

Lunch and dinner usually consist of a main entree, sides, and soup. A salad bar is always available. From my experience, fried chicken is served on the weekends and the weekday entree varies.

Does the Centurion Lounge have free wifi?

Yes, ask the front desk for the wifi password.

Can you visit the lounge when you depart and arrive from the airport?

You can access the lounge a maximum of three hours before your departure flight. Entry upon arrival is not permitted.

If you have a connecting flight or layover with a same day departure, you can access the lounge.

Some lounges also have a shower. Ask the front desk for availability.

Do you need an airline ticket to access the lounge?

Yes, you can only access the lounge if you're flying the same day. You will need to present your boarding pass to the front desk to enter the lounge.

Is there a dress code?

No, it's a casual environment and there is not a formal dress code.

Priority Pass Select FAQ
Airport Lounges

Priority Pass Select is a benefit that’s offered with select premium travel credit cards. Be aware that the benefit level may vary based on the credit cards you have.

For example, some premium travel cards have unlimited access for you and two guests, while other credit cards may only give you 10 Priority Pass tickets per year. Always check your card’s benefit guide for the most up to date information.

Priority Pass FAQ

1. How do you get multiple Priority Pass Select cards?

If you have more than one premium credit card that offers Priority Pass as a benefit, you will most likely end up with the respective number of Priority Pass cards.

To obtain the cards, you’ll need to log in your online account or call the number on the back of your credit card to request the Priority Pass card. Not all credit issuers will automatically send the Priority Pass card.

Pro-tip: Label your Priority Pass cards to keep track of them. I usually write which card the pass is associated with on the back, so I don’t confuse them.

Your credit card will not grant you access into Priority Pass lounges. You MUST present the physical (unexpired) Priority Pass card. Some lounges will also accept the card if it’s linked to the Priority Pass app.

For example, I hold both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Platinum Card from American Express. Both of these cards give me access to Priority Pass, so I have two separate membership cards. The great thing about Priority Pass is that the card number is different for each credit card, and not tied to your name.

At restaurants, I usually use one Priority Pass card for food, close out the tab, and then use the second card to get drinks. Be sure to carry cash to leave a tip since it’s not included in the credits.

Important note: Not all Priority Pass Select cards are created equal. For example, the Priority Pass from The Platinum Card and other Amex cards does NOT grant you access to restaurants. Double check the benefits of your respective card before using it.

2. How many guests can you bring into the Priority Pass lounge?

When the benefit says “you and two guests” that means you can bring yourself AND two additional people into the lounge.

The answer varies based on your credit card agreement with Priority Pass. Always check your card benefit guide for the most up to date information.

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve - Complimentary visit for you + 2 guests
  • Amex Platinum - Complimentary visit  for you + 2 guests
  • U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve - Complimentary visit for the first 4 visits and 4 individual accompanying guests per membership year. Each visit and guest after that will be subject to the $27 fee.

3. Can you use the Priority Pass Lounge upon arrival?

In my experience, yes, but your mileage may vary. Technically, you can enter a lounge if you have the Priority Pass card and a same-day boarding pass. However, it mainly depends on the front desk reception if they want to let you in, and how busy the lounge is.

One pro-tip is to check the Priority Pass app to see if there is an arrival’s lounge. Hong Kong International Airport has an arrival’s lounge after you clear customs and pickup your luggage.

The only exception is if you have to clear security to visit the lounge - you will not be able to visit.

4. Why would you want to use the Priority Pass upon arrival?

If you have a morning flight, the lounge is a good place to stay until you are ready to explore the city.

In Singapore, my flight landed at  6 AM and hotel check-in was at 12 PM, so I  visited every single Priority Pass lounge in the airport.

Another example is if your flight lands during rush hour. I would rather spend an hour relaxing in the lounge instead of sitting in rush hour traffic.

5. How long does it take to get the Priority Pass card?

It depends on the credit issuer. In my experience, it usually takes 2-3 weeks.

6. What about checked bags?

One important note is that if you check your bags, I don’t recommend staying in the lounge for a long time because you don’t want to “lose” your luggage.

I usually don’t check a bag when I travel domestically.

7. The Priority Pass fee increased from $27 to $32?

I don’t talk about this because most people reading this post or watching our videos most likely are not affected by the price increase. Most readers have complimentary Priority Pass access, and if they don’t, it’s usually not worth paying the entrance fee.

8. Why do you hate Priority Pass lounges in the U.S.?

In my experience, Priority Pass lounges in the U.S. only offer bar snacks and drinks. If you visit a Priority Pass lounge in Asia or Europe, there is usually at least one hot food offering, in addition to drinks and snacks.

I’m a fan of the restaurant additions to the network since I can get a hot meal before my flight.

9. Are the food and alcohol free?

It depends on the lounge and their rules. Most lounges will have complimentary food and drink, but there are exceptions.

Some lounges may have a voucher system for a set limit, and others may have a premium menu that you can order from. The front desk reception will usually notify you if there are any additional charges.

10. Can you use multiple Priority Pass cards for the same meal at the restaurant?

Technically, no. You’re only supposed to use one Priority Pass card per table. However, you can always ask the server to split the tab between two cards so they know what to do accordingly.

On the other hand, you can order food on one card, and come back and use another card for drinks.

Important: Be sure to let your server know that you’re using a Priority Pass card BEFORE you order. They will have to swipe the Priority Pass card to put it in the system.

YouTube Video

What Is Bust-Out Fraud? 4 Tips to Avoid Credit Card Shutdowns
Credit Cards 101

What is bust-out fraud?

Bust-out fraud is when someone builds up a good credit profile, creates a pattern of normal usage and satisfactory repayment history, and then racks up a massive balance with no intention of paying the bill.

The person committing bust-out fraud usually has the goal of getting as much "free" things they can by maxing out their credit cards and running away.

4 Tips to Avoid Credit Card Account Shutdowns

Tip #1: Don't write bad checks

At the late stage of bust-out fraud, a common behavior is to write bad checks to pay off the card balances. Often times, writing a bad check to a credit card company will result in an account freeze or shut down.

Most people have multiple checking and savings accounts. Before you write a check, double-check the account balance to make sure the check will clear.

The last thing you want to do is accidentally display bust-out fraud behavior.

Tip #2: Decrease your credit limits

Some banks are comfortable issuing up to 50% of your income as your total credit limit. If you're approaching your maximum credit limit allowance, consider lowering your credit limits.

If you're someone who has multiple loan products (i.e., student loans, mortgage, auto loan) with a specific banking institution, then the bank is more exposed to you, imposing a higher risk. You can de-risk your profile by lowering your credit card limits.

On the other hand, some people want higher credit limits because it lowers their credit utilization. If you're under 10% utilization, then you should be fine.

If you're a business owner and you need a high credit limit for business purposes, be sure to ease into spending on the card. For example, if you recently opened a new business credit card, I don't recommend putting a $20,000 on the second day of having the card. This would raise a red flag, especially if you didn't have a previous relationship with the credit issuer.

Tip #3: If you do need a high credit limit, pre-pay your cards

If you need a high credit limit and your utilization is high, I recommend routinely paying the balance down to seem low-risk.

Another method is to slowly work your way up to a higher credit limit. Some credit issuers will automatically issue more credit limit if they see you use 60% of the limit and pay it off. I don't recommend calling in to ask for a credit limit increase right away, especially if it's a new credit card.

Tip #4: Pre-pay your cards before applying for a new credit card

When a balance is close or over the credit limit (70% or above), credit issuers will view this behavior as high-risk.

This is also true if your credit limit utilization is 70% or higher for multiple credit institutions.

If you pre-pay your cards before applying for a new credit card, it will lower the utilization and de-risk your profile.

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Should You Move from Chase to Amex Cards?

With the recent changes to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, a lot of people are questioning whether they should stick with the Chase card system or move on to American Express. Before making any major changes to your card setup, let’s run through a few scenarios.

1. If you’re someone under Chase 5/24

Chase has an unwritten rule that you will be automatically denied for a credit card if you have opened 5 or more personal credit or charge cards in the past 24 months from any credit issuer.

If you’re under the Chase 5/24 rule, I recommend adding the Chase cards you want first before moving on to American Express. By adding other issuers first, you’re leaving money on the table.

Chase cards aren’t limited to Ultimate Reward earning cards. There are also co-branded cards like The World of Hyatt Credit Card, United℠ Explorer Card, and the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card.

Each Chase card can easily yield $500-$1,000 in value, depending on how you redeem the points. Watch the video below for a detailed explanation on the value of Chase “slots.”

Card Options


Chase Cash Back Setup

If you’re someone who doesn’t care about travel and prefers to focus on cash back, there’s still value in the core Ultimate Rewards cards.


2. Pros and Cons of American Express Charge Cards

If you are someone that is over Chase 5/24 or you don’t care for Chase cards, then American Express is a good alternative.

The Platinum Card® from American Express card was one of my favorite card picks of 2019 since it has a strong intro bonus and benefits that I use often.

The Platinum Card® from American Express 

See if the Amex Platinum is worth it for you: https://www.asksebby.com/credit-cards/the-platinum-card-from-american-express-worth-the-550-annual-fee

Check if you're targeted for the 100k offer via CardMatch: http://bit.ly/2zqinrc

Another reason to go for American Express cards is that you can usually get a retention offer every other year. Your mileage may vary based on your profile with Amex. Chase rarely gives out retention offers.


Before jumping in to get the Platinum card or any other charge card, there are a few reasons why you might want to avoid it:

  1. The Platinum card doesn’t have a no annual fee downgrade option.
  2. If you’re someone who wasn’t happy with the Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee increase to $550, it seems like Amex just got the green light to increase the annual fee again. The Platinum card recently increased the annual fee to $695. Rates and fees.
  3. If you’re someone who doesn’t use rideshare or food delivery services, it might be hard to derive value from the card. The Chase Sapphire Reserve has Lyft and DoorDash, while the Platinum card has Uber/UberEats and Saks credits.
  4. The airline incidental credits from the Amex charge cards are harder to use. You cannot buy airline gift cards anymore.

Overall, I don’t recommend getting an American Express charge card if you don’t have a strong foundation of cards to fall back on. The economy can take a turn, and if you need to cancel, your credit history will take a hit.

Should You Keep or Cancel the American Express Gold Card?
American Express

The one year anniversary of the revamped American Express® Gold Card is quickly approaching, and people are starting to wonder if they should renew their card membership for another year.

Product Change Options

It’s important to note that the American Express Gold Card is a charge card, and not a credit card. You can only product change an Amex charge card to another charge card within the same family:

  • The Platinum Card from American Express ($695 annual fee)
  • American Express Gold Card ($250 annual fee)
  • American Express Green Card ($150 annual fee)

There isn’t a product change option available that does not have an annual fee. If you don’t want to keep paying annual fees on a charge card, you’ll need to cancel.

Before you cancel, make sure you have a way to keep the Membership Reward points “alive.” Either have another open charge card that earns MR points or the Amex EveryDay card.

American Express® Gold Card Breakeven Calculator

Ask Sebby crunches the numbers for you to calculate the Expected Value of the American Express® Gold Card. For the expected value of points, we derive the approximate dollar value based on the numbers you enter in the calculator. Scroll down to the end of the post to see our methodology.

The calculator below contains default figures and serve as an example only. Users should insert their own data for the most accurate results.    

Should You Keep or Cancel the Amex Gold Credit Card?

Chase Sapphire Reserve Increases Annual Fee to $550 and Adds New Benefits

Huge changes are coming to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®  starting on Jan 12, 2020. The most significant change is that the card’s annual fee will jump from $450 to $550 — a $100 increase.

Quick overview of changes effective Jan 12,2020:

  • Annual fee increase to $550
  • One free year of Lyft Pink (retail value of $19.99/month)
  • Earn 10x points on all Lyft rides when you pay with the Chase Sapphire  Reserve
  • Complimentary DoorDash DashPass 12-month membership
  • $120 in Door Dash credits
  • Up to $60 in DoorDash credits in 2020 and $60 in DoorDash credits in 2021

New $550 Annual Fee

The new Chase Sapphire Reserve $550 annual fee kicks in on Jan 12, 2020. There’s still time to lock in the $450 annual fee and enjoy the new benefits if you apply before Jan 11, 2020.

Existing cardholders will be able to renew at the $450 annual fee, as long as the card anniversary renewal date is before to April 1, 2020. After April 1, all accounts will renew at the increased $550 annual fee.

Lyft Pink

Lyft Pink is Lyft’s membership program that gives you an elevated Lyft experience with preferred pricing.

Sapphire Reserve cardholders must activate the Lyft Pink membership via the Lyft app to qualify.

Lyft Pink:

  • Retail value: $19.99/month or $239.88/year
  • 15% savings on all car rides, priority airport pickups, surprise offers, relaxed cancellations, and more

Earn 10x on Lyft Rides

Now through March 2022, Sapphire Reserve cardmembers will automatically earn 10x total points every time they use their card for a Lyft car, bike, or scooter.

Chase Sapphire Preferred cardmembers will earn 5x total points on Lyft rides.

Lyft gift card purchases do not qualify for the increased multipliers.

DoorDash DashPass Membership

With the new Chase x DoorDash partnership, select Chase credit cards will receive significant discounts on the DashPass membership.

Both the Sapphire Reserve and the Sapphire Preferred members will receive a complimentary DashPass for at least one year.

To register for DashPass, add your eligible card to the DoorDash app and click to add the offer anytime between now and Dec 31, 2021. Membership is valid for 12 months from the date of activation. For example, if you activate the complimentary DashPass in June 2020, it'll be free until June 2021.

Activate your DashPass membership here: https://www.doordash.com/dashpass-v2/Chase/card/

$120 DoorDash Credits

Starting on Jan 12, $120 in DoorDash credits will be automatically issued as statement credits of up to $60 in 2020 and $60 in 2021.

You must use the Sapphire Reserve card on the DoorDash purchases to qualify, and no activation is required.

The DoorDash statement credits will automatically be awarded when the transaction is posted to your Sapphire Reserve.

Overall Thoughts

The increased annual fee might be a deal breaker for some cardholders if you can’t maximize the Lyft and DoorDash benefits. If you’re someone who’s locked into the $450 annual fee for another year, it’s worth keeping the card to test drive the new benefits.

Amex Upgrade Offers: Should You Upgrade Your American Express Card?
American Express

Should You Upgrade Your American Express Card?

Does it make sense to upgrade your American Express card when you receive an offer? In this post, we are going to use the American Express Gold® Card as an example.

A few American Express Gold Card cardholders received an offer to upgrade to The Platinum Card® from American Express. The offer is to spend $1,000 to receive a 25,000 point upgrade bonus.

On the surface, it seems like a good deal, but it's more complicated because American Express limits your ability to get a intro bonus if you already had the product.

This means that if you take the upgrade bonus, you will not be eligible for a Platinum Card intro bonus in the future because you already have the card.

Why does this matter? We’ve seen Platinum Card intro bonuses range from 60,000-125,000 Membership Rewards points. By taking the upgrade offer, you’re effectively setting 35,000+ points on fire.

On the other hand, if you were not planning on applying for the Platinum Card in the future OR you previously had the Platinum Card, then taking the upgrade offer might be the optimal strategy.

TLDR: Don’t take an upgrade offer unless you previously earned an intro bonus for the card you’re upgrading to. You disqualify yourself from future intro bonuses (for the card you’re upgrading to) due to the “once in a lifetime rule” if you have or had the card, regardless of if you received a bonus.

Optimal Strategy

Scenario A (1 Card)

  1. Signup for the American Express Gold Card and get the intro bonus
  2. Wait until you receive an upgrade offer from Amex to upgrade the American Express Gold Card  to the Platinum Card

Scenario B (2 Cards)

  1. Signup for the American Express Gold Card and earn the intro bonus (either cancel or keep for step 3)
  2. Signup for the Platinum Card and get the intro bonus
  3. Wait until you receive an upgrade offer from Amex to upgrade the Gold Card to Platinum bonus
  • You can downgrade one or both = Amex Gold Card/The Platinum Card OR Amex Gold  Card/Amex Gold Card
  • You can also cancel one or both if they don't make sense to keep

The main difference between the two scenarios is one intro bonus. I wouldn't recommend going through the hassle unless it’s a high value bonus, but I think it's important to understand the game theory since this is technically a min-max problem.

These scenarios also apply to downgrades.

When you request a downgrade, you also disqualify yourself from receiving an intro bonus from the respective card.

Bottom Line

It's not optimal to upgrade your card unless you don't plan on getting the respective card in the future because it will disqualify you from receiving an intro bonus in the future.

For other credit card issuers, these scenarios aren't applicable because they're more forgiving than American Express. With Chase, you can receive an intro bonus for a product once every 24 months.

Do Chase Ink Credit Cards Earn Points or Cash Back?

Do Chase Ink Credit Cards Earn Points or Cash Back?

Chase Ink business cards like the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card and the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card are marketed as cash back cards, but they actually earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Per the Chase Ink offer details page:

Cash Back and Points: "Cash Back rewards" are the rewards you earn under the program. Cash Back rewards are tracked as points and each $1 in Cash Back rewards earned is equal to 100 points. You may see "Cash Back" in marketing materials when referring to the rewards you earn.

For example, the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card has a $750 intro bonus after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. When you earn the intro bonus, your account will be credited 75,000 Ultimate Rewards points.

Points do not expire as long as you have a Chase Ultimate Rewards earning card open.

How Much Are Chase Ultimate Rewards Worth?

Points can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, and travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

If you have multiple Chase Ultimate Rewards earning cards, you can pool the points together for redemption.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders can redeem points for travel at 1.5x via transfer partners or Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card cardholders can redeem points at 1.25x through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Should You Diversify Your Credit Card Points?
Points 101

The points game is always changing when it comes to valuations and redemptions. Should you diversify your points to de-risk?

The main factors that come into play for diversification are:

  1. How much spend you put on credit cards
  2. How many credit cards you want to obtain

To simply things, we created this quadrant to determine your strategy.

Quadrant 1

If you’re someone who has a high amount of spend, but you don’t want to add that many credit cards, then Quadrant 1 is for you.

Pick a points system that works for your spending habits based on categories, and what you want to redeem the points for.

For example, if you don’t care about travel and prefer cash back, then I suggest looking into the Bank of America card set up to earn cash back.

If you have high spend and you want to redeem points for first class or business class flights, then American Express, Chase, or Citi cards would be ideal.

Quadrant 1

Quadrant 2

Quadrant 2 is for people who have a high amount of spend and want to obtain more credit card bonuses that provide outsized value. Diversifying your points portfolio should be relatively easy based on spend.

Quadrant 2

Quadrant 3

For people who spend less than $1,000 per month and want to optimize for cash back, I suggest picking one card or a simple cash back system.

A flat-rate cash back card like the Citi Double Cash or the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is ideal.

If you want to play the 5% cash back game, then adding the Chase Freedom, Discover It, and ABOC Platinum card is optimal.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is another card to consider since the welcome offer is worth $500 in cash, and the $95 annual fee is waived the first year. You can product change it to a Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited after 12 months of account opening.

Quadrant 3

Quadrant 4

If you have low spend, but you’re willing to add a few more cards, then going for cards that offer $100-200 as an intro offer is ideal.

There are a handful of cards in the travel, hotel, and cash back categories that fit the bill.

For cash back, cards like the Bank of America Cash Rewards card offers $200 after $500 in spend within the first 3 months of account opening.

For travel, the Capital One Venture card offers 50,000 bonus miles after $3,000 in spend within the first 3 months of account opening.

Quadrant 4

Credit Card Minimum Spend

Monthly spending is an interesting topic because some people might not spend that much money on a day-to-day basis. However, they might have large monthly bills to pay like health insurance, rent, mortgage, or student loan payments.

The ideal strategy is taking the large monthly bills and paying them with a credit card to meet a minimum spend requirement on a new credit card.

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