The Credit Card Reshuffle Begins

a close up of credit cards may receive commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on are from advertisers and may impact how and where card products appear on the site. does not include all card companies or all available card offers.

Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission that helps contribute to the running of the site – I’m very grateful to anyone who uses these links but their use is entirely optional. The compensation does not impact how and where products appear on this site and does not impact reviews that are published. For more details please see the advertising disclosure found at the bottom of every page.

Earlier this month I wrote a series of posts going though which travel related credit cards I hold and why (Which Credit Cards I Hold & Why?). The posts were as much for me as anyone else because they made me think about the credit cards I hold and made me justify their place in my wallet. At the time I noted that a few cards were reaching the end of their useful life and, when an annual fee became due on one of them, I decided to pull the plug.

Following my review of the credit cards I hold the ones whose presence I had the hardest time justifying were:

  • American Express Platinum Card
  • Chase British Airways Visa
  • Citi AAdvantage Executive Mastercard
  • Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard

So which one bit the dust?

It was the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card.

Citi Credit Cards

The $450 annual fee came due and I just couldn’t justify it anymore. The only real benefit I was deriving from having the card was Admirals Club access and, as you’ll see later, I had plans for that anyway.

$40,000 was way too much spend to put on this card just to get the 10,000 EQM (which is why I haven’t done it in recent years) and most of the other worthwhile benefits I either get with my airline status or with other, cheaper, credit cards that I hold. The card had to go.

Because I’ve held the card for a few years and because it has a pretty good credit limit I didn’t just cancel it out of hand. I asked Citi to downgrade it to the no-fee Citi Thank You Preferred Card.


The thinking behind the downgrade was simple – I no longer have a fee to pay, my credit history aging doesn’t take a hit (as it would have done had I simply canceled the card) and I keep a nice credit limit I have with Citi without another credit check (which is what they were going to do if I wanted to shift the credit line to a different card.)

For the time being the other credit cards survive the cull (their annual fees aren’t due yet) but the next one for the block will be the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card….unless Citi gives me a retention bonus that’s worth my while 🙂

The AAdvantage Executive Card may have been the only card cut, but that wasn’t the end of my credit card tinkering.

There’s been one card I’ve wanted for a while but I wasn’t prepared to apply for it while I had both the Amex Platinum Card and the AAdvantage Executive card. The Amex Platinum has a $550 fee ($450 at the time this post was written) and the Executive card has a $450 annual fees (and so does the card I’ve had my eye on….and there was no way I’d allow myself to hold 3 cards that all cost that much. But with the AAdvantage Executive Card downgraded to a no-fee card the coast was clear.

Citi Prestige Mastercard

Just before I downgraded my Citi AAdvantage Executive card I applied for and got the Citi Prestige Mastercard.

Buy AAdvantage Miles

Quite a few bloggers have been pushing this card recently and, for once, I actually agree with them that this card can make a lot of sense. Clearly just how good or bad this card is for you will depend on your own personal situation but, for me, this should be a great card.

The Citi Prestige Mastercard has a whole host of benefits and, if you’re really that interested in all of them the link will lead you to them.


I’m just going to focus on the primary benefits that I think make this card very useful to me:

  • No foreign transaction fees – this is a “must have” for me considering the amount of international travel I do.
  • Admirals Club Access – takes the place of the Admirals Club membership that cam with the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card that I gave up.
  • Priority Pass Select – This is an enhanced version of the Priority Pass membership I get with the Amex Platinum (so I’m one step closer to getting rid of that card too). This version of Priority Pass membership gets me and two guests into Priority Pass lounges for free….and I’m travelling with two guests a lot more nowadays.
  •  $250 Annual Air Travel Credit – This is another nail in the coffin for my Amex Platinum Card as this credit can be used on air fare (which the credit from the Amex Platinum can’t).
  • Complimentary 4th Night Stay at Hotels – A great benefit to have and one which I’ve already used for a trip coming up in 2016. I suspect that this benefit alone will be worth more than the $450 annual fee each year (Note: The annual fee increased to $495 in 2019).
  • 3 Complimentary Green Fees Annually – I claim to play golf but what I do bears no resemblance to what the guys on TV do. Nevertheless, all those lost golf balls will be less sorely missed with Citi picking up the tab for 3 of my green fees a year.

I can’t see how I can fail to get my $450 annual fee back each year (Note: The annual fee increased to $495 in 2019) – those are all benefits I’ll use extensively every year and they’re all benefits that put cash back into my pocket.

On top of that:

  • The signup bonus of 50,000 ThankYou points is nice and will save me $800 off my next American Airlines booking.
  • The 3 points/mile spent on air travel and hotels should garner me quite a few points throughout the next year and those will probably go to saving me more money on American Airlines flights in the future.

Bottom Line

Having reviewed my credit cards and having downgraded the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card I feel a lot more in control of my credit card portfolio. I know what cards are definitely staying and I’m very clear on which cards will be the next to go.

Getting the Citi Prestige Card (and with a healthy credit limit) was a big positive to end the year on and I’m looking forward to making the most of all the benefits that come with it.

If you’ve been playing with credit cards for years this was probably a super-boring post for you (sorry!) but, if you’re relatively new to all this, hopefully this post and the ones I’ve referred back to, will give you a little more idea how I think when it comes to what credit cards I hold. In turn, hopefully, that will give you some ideas of what you should be thinking of when you get around to applying for travel rewards credit cards or when you examine closer the cards you already hold.

Note: Travel rewards credit cards are only “rewarding” if you pay off your credit card balance each and every month. If you don’t pay your credit card off at month end these cards are not for you. Move on, there’s nothing to see here.

Featured image courtesy of Sean MacEntee via Flickr