The 29 Credit Cards in My Wallet 2021 | Current Credit Cards

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The Platinum Card® from American Express card is annual fee waived for military. Terms apply.

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As of August 2021 my wife and I have 29 open credit and charge cards. Since 2015 we have opened 43 cards. My credit score is currently 805-818 according to Credit Karma and Credit Sesame. I recommend both sites to check your credit score for free.

The most popular cards for military credit card holders on my site since 2018 are:

  1. The Platinum Card® from American Express (Amex Platinum review)
  2. American Express® Gold Card (Amex Gold card review)
  3. Chase Sapphire Reserve (Chase Sapphire Reserve review)
  4. Chase Sapphire Preferred (Chase Sapphire Preferred review)
Military SCRA MLA AMEX Platinum
Chase Sapphire Reserve No Annual Fee for Military
Chase Sapphire Preferred Military SCRA MLA

You can compare the Amex Platinum vs the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Amex Gold vs Amex Platinum review, and the CSR vs the CSP.

I recorded an episode of the Military Money Manual Podcast where Jamie and I talked about what cards we have in our wallets. You can listen below:

Physically Managing Lots of Credit Cards

I keep my cards in a leather credit card binder I purchased on Amazon for less than $15. It keeps the cards I don't use daily organized.

For daily use, I have a Travelambo Front Pocket Minimalist Leather Slim Wallet RFID Blocking Medium Size. About 3 years ago I purchased the 5 top rated wallets on Amazon.

I returned the other 4 and kept the Travelambo. This is the best wallet for credit cards I have found after trying several.

Credit Cards I Carry Daily

Right now, I'm carrying my military ID (CAC), driver's license, some cash, a list of goals I want to accomplish, and some small photos. The credit cards I carry daily are:

What I Look for in a New Credit Card

The 3 primary things I care about when evaluating a new credit card are:

  1. The welcome bonus, like the massive points you can earn on the Amex Platinum
  2. The ongoing benefits of holding the card, like travel credits or free hotel nights
  3. The categories I can earn extra points in, like restaurants and groceries with the Amex Gold or travel and dining with Chase Sapphire Reserve

I update a list of the best credit card welcome bonuses each month. I also have an exact recommended order military servicemembers and spouses should open up cards to maximize their points earnings in my best credit cards for active duty military guide.

I have earned millions of points and miles just from welcome bonuses. I have also received thousands of dollars in cash back welcome bonuses.

The ongoing benefits of a hotel card, for instance, can be higher automatic elite status and an annual free night. For instance the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card gives you automatic Diamond status. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card gives you automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status.

The 29 Credit Cards I Have Right Now

Other than my Capital One business card, I do not pay any annual fees on these cards thanks to the Chase Military Lending Act and Amex Military Lending Act military fee waiver programs.

This saves me over $7000 per year. I can walk you through how to save your first $695 annual fee in my Ultimate Military Credit Cards Course. The course is 100% free for you.

American Express Cards

All American Express personal cards are no annual fee for military servicemembers and their dependents. Amex does this to comply with the Military Lending Act (MLA) and Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).

Military SCRA MLA AMEX Platinum
American Express Gold Card No Annual Fee for Military Upgrade to Platinum
Free Diamond Status at Hilton Hotels for Military
American Express Gold Card military AMEX Gold Card Military No annual fee SCRA $250 annual fee waived
  • Learn how to apply for the American Express® Gold Card
  • $250 Annual Fee waived for US military and spouses (rates and fees)
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Reward Amex points after spending $4000 in the first 6 months of account opening
  • Rose Gold is back! Choose between the Gold or Rose Gold version when you apply.
  • 4x points on all restaurants, including takeout and delivery
  • 4x points on US supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year) – includes OCONUS Commissaries
  • 3x points on flights booked directly with the airline or on amextravel.com
  • No foreign transaction fees – great for the 4x on restaurants when travelling for fun, OCONUS TDY, or PCS!
  • $120 annual Uber or Uber Eats cash. Earned as $10 per month.
  • $120 per year credit at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House or Shake Shack (enrollment required)
  • Read my full review of the Amex Gold card for military, terms apply

Chase Cards

Chase waives all annual fees for military servicemembers and dependents on their personal credit cards (not business cards) as long as you are on active duty after 20 Sep 2017 and open the card after that date.

Chase Sapphire Reserve No Annual Fee for Military
Chase Freedom Flex military
Chase Ink Business Preferred Veteran and Military
Chase Sapphire Preferred Military SCRA MLA
  • Learn how to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate after spending $4000 in the first 3 months of card membership
  • 60,000 points = $750 minimum when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal
  • New benefits include $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit
  • 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 3x points on dining (includes takeout, delivery, and dine-in)
  • 2x points on all other travel purchases
  • Points can also be redeemed with “Pay Yourself Back” for 1.25 cents each on eligible purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees, great for overseas OCONUS assignments, TDY, and PCS
  • Primary rental car insurance coverage & trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Must activate by 12/31/21.
  • Get up to $60 back on eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021
  • Upgrade to a Chase Sapphire Reserve after 1 year (compare Reserve vs Preferred)
  • $95 annual fee waived for military and spouses with Chase Military Lending Act

Citi Cards

My Citi Premier is annual fee waived thanks to MLA. Citi Prestige is also MLA fee waived.

Citi Premier Card Military Benefits

Capital One®

My only Capital One® card at the moment is the Capital One® Spark® Business Cash card. This card was offering an insane 200,000 point welcome bonus when you spend $50,000. (Note: offer is no longer available.)

I was able to hit the welcome bonus on this card and earn $3000 cash back. That was a nice check to receive!

Welcome Bonuses on my Credit Cards

With these cards and the ones I've closed, I received the following cumulative welcome bonuses:

  • 575,000 Hilton Honors points
  • 480,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 420,000 AMEX Membership Rewards
  • 310,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
  • 250,000 American Airlines miles
  • 100,000 IHG Points
  • 60,000 Citi Thank You Points
  • 75,000 Delta Skymiles
  • 50,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles
  • 50,000 Hyatt Points
  • $3700 cash back

I also receive the following recurring benefits annually:

  • $1200 Uber or Uber Eats credit ($90 per month, $210 in December)
  • $1200 annual airline fee credit
  • $750 credit at Hilton hotels and resorts
  • $600 credit at Marriott hotels and resorts
  • $300 travel credit
  • Domestic first class companion pass on Delta

I also max out my “refer a friend” for cards every year, which results in the additional points with no spending:

  • 550,000 AMEX Membership Rewards (can cash out at 1.25 cents per point = $6875 minimum per year)
  • 240,000 Hilton Honors points
  • 110,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points
  • 55,000 Delta Skymiles

I pay $0 in annual fees thanks to the Chase Military Lending Act and Amex MLA policy The Spark Cash card is a $95 annual fee not waived for military, but I will probably close the account before the annual fee posts.

The Next Credit Card to Open

I keep this page updated with the best credit card welcome bonuses available to military servicemembers. I also have my recommended order to open credit cards for military servicemembers and their spouses.

Personally, I have maxed out my Chase 5/24 and Amex 5 credit card limit (not cards like the Platinum). My wife still has a lot of AMEX cards she is eligible for so she will probably open more of those this year.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does having a lot of credit cards hurt your credit score?

No. My score is above 800 and I have opened and closed 38 credit cards in the past 5 years.

How many credit cards can you have?

I read of people having 60+ cards. The Guinness Book of World Records says the most credit cards owned by one person is 1562.

Why have more than 1 AMEX Platinum card?

The Amex Platinum card offers monthly benefits like a $15 Uber or Uber Eats credit ($35 in December), so with my 6 AMEX Platinum cards I get $90 per month of Uber Eats credit. In December I get $210 of Uber credit. That's a lot of free food!

9 thoughts on “The 29 Credit Cards in My Wallet 2021 | Current Credit Cards”

  1. I’m retired military going on 11 years and have three credit cards: a Mastercard with cash back points originally initiated through my college’s alumni association (I don’t use it that much), a cash-back Visa through a popular military-supporting bank (the card I currently use the most), and an Amex blue card I sort of inherited a few years ago by taking care of my then ill parents (I presently only use it for estate reasons). Please explain to me the logic of having so many (29 +/-) cards open, pros and cons. It seems almost dangerous in this day and age of ID theft and fraud to have so many active accounts. Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  2. Spencer,

    I’m close to retiring from the army (eligible next month but planning 5 more years). Once I retire will the credit companies automatically change me annual fees?

    Reply
  3. Hi Spencer. You said that you don’t pay annual fees on any card in your 37-card picture but the Capital one card. Under the chase card section you say MLA doesn’t apply to chase business cards. You have 2 chase business cards pictured in the 27. Do you or do you not pay fees on those?

    Reply
    • All of my Chase Freedom accounts were opened before Chase MLA kicked in Sep 2017, so out of luck on that front. One of them is a downgraded CSR opened before Sep 17. Once my wife got her CSR’s annual fee waived, she added me as an authorized user and we just share that one.

      Reply

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