Planning My Next Round of Credit Card Applications (January 2014 Edition)

I’ve written in the past about my credit card strategy, and I usually have a pretty good idea of what I want to apply for during each round of applications, which I do every three months. But I’m really coming up empty this time around.

I’m coming up on my annual fee for my Amex Platinum card, and I was originally planning my churn this time around my Amex Plat. A long time ago, I was thinking of applying for the Amex Platinum Mercedes Benz version to get a new sign-up bonus and still maintain all of the benefits, but then Amex started explicitly disallowing the sign-up bonus for existing cardholders of personal Amex cards. So then I was thinking about applying for an Amex Business Platinum card and alternating between Amex Business and Amex Personal Platinum cards in the future.

But then Amex came along and said that they were discontinuing their lounge relationship with American Airlines and US Airways, and that they’ll offer a $200 additional airline reimbursement credit on those airlines for expenses between March 22, 2014 and December 31, 2014. Since Amex has historically reimbursed gift certificates purchases, I figure I’d wait until March 22nd to spend my additional $200 airline credit, and then cancel my Amex Platinum card, since Amex also historically does a pro rata refund of the annual fee. By waiting, I’ll still have to pay about $110 in annual fees, but the extra $200 airline credit should offset that.

Thus, I’m holding onto my Amex Platinum card for now, and now I don’t know what to do. It’s been about 15 months since I last applied for a Citi American Airlines card, so I could try to do that again (although many recommend waiting until at least 18 months), and my last Barclays card was about 9 months ago, so I could try to get my third Barclays US Airways card (although it’s supposed to be nearly impossible to get approved for a third card nowadays). I already got a Bank of America Alaska card and a Chase card in my last round of applications 3 months ago, so it’s probably a little soon to hit up either of those again.

That leaves business cards, and there are many of those since the only business cards I have are the Chase MileagePlus Explorer and the Club Carlson business cards. But ultimately, a large part of my indecision/apathy is that I’m currently sitting on a decent number of miles but I don’t have any specific redemptions in mind. Without a goal in mind, I’m not sure I should be accumulating miles and points all willy nilly, especially since it’s unclear what’s going to happen with the American and US Airways merger.

Thoughts? Am I crazy to not apply for any credit cards since I can start the churn cycle earlier by applying now? Right now, I’m leaning toward just waiting another three months to get rid of my Amex Platinum, get a new Citi AA card, and see if I have a better idea of what else I’ll want or need at that time.

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