TLDR: Optimal Holdings

Turns out nobody has the time to read my articles so here is my TLDR guide of the optimal wallet holdings. It can be found in the sidebar menu. In my military career I plan to holding on to this optimal card portfolio:

If we can get all the above cards we are looking at:

  • $1,975 in Travel Expense Credit
  • 6 free hotel nights on stays of 4 nights or more
  • Unlimited Lounge Access for:
    • Oneworld
    • Star Alliance
    • Delta (When Flying Delta)
    • Citibank Airport Lounges
    • Priority Pass Lounges
    • $28 credit at Priority Pass Restaurants
    • AmEx Centurion Lounges
    • Escape Lounges
  • 5 Free Nights (3 Weekend, 2 anytime 50K Marriott)
  • $1,050 in Hotel Credits ($750 Hilton Resort, $300 Marriott)
  • $2,550 in airline gift cards (3x $250 and 9x $200 Delta or SW)
  • One First Class Companion Pass (Delta Domestic)
  • $600 in Dell Credit
  • $1,200 in Uber Credit ($15 a month, $20 more in Dec)
  • $600 in Saks Fifth Avenue Credit
  • $300 in flight dining

Then double it up for your player 2! Assuming you vacation together, you and your family would be able to fly $5,100 in gift cards for Southwest or Delta flights.

You will have $600 to use in the flight for food, and lounges access at the United Club, Delta Lounge (on Delta), and American Airlines to a nice destination. You can stay Friday night to Sunday night vacation at any Hilton Resort worldwide using 3 weekend free night certificates. You could use the credit to do this at least twice a year for free and drop $750 each time at the Hilton resort. You can do two more free vacations at a Marriott and use your two 50k point nights as well as your $300 credit for each stay.

You can also be a huge cheap ass for Christmas and birthdays as long as all of your gifts come from Dell and Saks Fifth Avenue. Stack topcashback or ebates for some sweet cash back. Use shoprunner for free shipping and use the Saks Fifth Avenue free gift wrap online. You will have $1,200 for Dell and $1,200 in Saks Fifth. It will always be a Merry Christmas indeed!

Between vacations you will have $2,400 in Uber credits for Uber Eats and $3,950 for parking tolls and taxis. Then you would have 2 first class companion passes that would be helpful to fly from Hawaii to Mainland if you are stationed out there to cut your flight costs in half.

I don’t think there is a timeshare ownership out there that can offer all this at an annual fee of $0 with $0 in maintenance fees. The cost however is to be under the UCMJ, possibly get deployed on a ship for to the middle of the ocean, and not have a stable residence for more than 3 years for 20 straight years. This substantial benefits and having the AF fee waivers for all the listed above products would in my humble opinion make it worth a 30 year career out of it!

-Derp

34 thoughts on “TLDR: Optimal Holdings

  1. Rony says:

    How you keep up with all those cards and make sure the credit issuer don’t start for low usages?

    • uiucderp2011 says:

      The cards will not be idle, each year you would be charging these things:

      $300 in airlines, hotels, parking and tolls on Chase Sapphire Reserve
      $300 in airlines, hotels, parking and tolls on Chase Sapphire Reserve (From Freedom)
      $300 in airlines, hotels, parking and tolls on Chase Sapphire Reserve (From Freedom Unlimited)
      Any United fees (like for taxes on point redemptions) Chase United Club Card
      $300 for in flight dining on any airlines on Chase Ritz Carlton Card (From Marriott Bonvoy Boundless)
      $250 in room rate and charges at a hilton resort, as well as $250 on Southwest Gift Cards on AmEx Hilton Honors Aspire
      $250 in room rate and charges at a hilton resort, as well as $250 on Southwest Gift Cards on AmEx Hilton Honors Aspire (From Ascend)
      $250 in room rate and charges at a hilton resort, as well as $250 on Southwest Gift Cards on AmEx Hilton Honors Aspire (From Hilton Honors)
      $300 in room charges and room rate on AmEx Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant
      THe fare for the companion pass for AmEx Delta Reserve
      $250 in parking, airlines, train tickets, and Uber reloads on Citi Prestige
      $250 in parking, airlines, train tickets, and Uber reloads on Citi Prestige (From Premier)
      $250 in parking, airlines, train tickets, and Uber reloads on Citi Prestige (From AA Platinum)
      Taxes and fees on points redemption for an AA flight on Citi AA Executive Card
      $325 in parking, airlines, train tickets, and Uber reloads on U.S. Bank Altitude
      $100 on Saks Fifth Gift cards, and $200 in Southwest on AmEx Personal Platinum
      $100 on Saks Fifth Gift cards, and $200 in Southwest on AmEx Personal Platinum (MS)
      $100 on Saks Fifth Gift cards, and $200 in Southwest on AmEx Personal Platinum (CS)
      $100 on Saks Fifth Gift cards, and $200 in Southwest on AmEx Personal Platinum (AP)
      $100 on Saks Fifth Gift cards, and $200 in Southwest on AmEx Personal Platinum (From Gold)
      $100 on Saks Fifth Gift cards, and $200 in Southwest on AmEx Personal Platinum (From Green)
      $200 on Dell, and $200 in Southwest GC on AmEx Business Platinum
      $200 on Dell, and $200 in Southwest GC AmEx Business Platinum (From Gold)
      $200 on Dell, and $200 in Southwest GC AmEx Business Platinum (From Green)

      • jkjk5 says:

        And if you didn’t have enough airline gift cards, I use my Ritz Carlton travel credit on Southwest gift cards without any issues instead of inflight dining

  2. troynewman says:

    I read all you articles. Just saying.

  3. wedstuntpuller says:

    Derp, any reason not to get the Hilton Honors business card? If nothing else, it gets 125k HH points, and can earn another free night after $15k spend in a year. Will it allow you to link your personal honors account to the card or does it have to be a business one?

  4. wedstuntpuller says:

    Also you have in your optimal holdings sticky to change the Chase Bonvoy Boundless to a Ritz Carlton card. I thought the Ritz cards were closed out and you could no longer obtain one unless you already had it, is this not true?

    • Deycallmejuice says:

      As of today, you can product change a Chase Bonvoy boundless to a Ritz Carlton CC after a year. Just know that rules can change at any given time.

    • uiucderp2011 says:

      chase has a bunch of these dead products, you can’t apply directly but you can product change into to it. You can product change from the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless to the Ritz and vice versa.

      • wedstuntpuller says:

        Wow I wish i wouldve grabbed a Chase BB as one of my way too quickly spent 5/24 slots, especially since they still have the 100k bonus. Wish I would’ve found your site 3 or 4 years ago, I would be much better prepared to take full advantage of my 24 month shore duty in Europe.

  5. Mike says:

    Looks like your amex business plat link is actually to a gold referral.

  6. ArmyGrunt07 says:

    I had a question about what happens after you upgrade an AMEX Gold to a Platinum. Can I then open another AMEX Gold to continue to reap the benefits of the increased points on groceries? If this is possible, would I be able to then upgrade this second AMEX Gold to a PT after another twelve months (and continually rinse and repeat this process every year)?

    • uiucderp2011 says:

      you got it, but you won’t get that sign up bonus again. You can continue to do this till the end of time to get infinite platinum cards.

  7. James says:

    US Bank Skypass Select for an additional $200 travel credit? (Not to overlook the two Korean Lounge passes each year as well)

    • uiucderp2011 says:

      brilliant! Us bank is just one of those places, we have not explored. any other good cards from them?

      • James says:

        They have the Raddison Cards, Aeromexico, and LATAM cards. Raddison Gold status, Aeromexico $99 annual companion cert, upgrade certificates on the AM/LATAM cards. Depends on if these cards fit into your travel plans.

        I would think for most people these cards would be a reach. But if these companies fit your travel plans, you might get some benefits.

        Nothing as easy as the US Bank ALT or Skypass travel credits, but someone out there might stay in the Raddison Blu in Santiago, Chile a few times a year. If that is you, then this could be the missing combo from your holdings

    • Frankpt says:

      @James–thanks for sharing this gem!
      Does the US Bank Skypass Select card follow the 0/6 rule like the US Bank Altitude card?

  8. Jacob says:

    As a data point, I was able to get to 4 Sapphire reserves for myself, and 3 for my wife with no issues at all! Also I have gotten two different Amex business green that I have upgraded to platinums (Business greens were opened <6 months apart and both were upgraded to plat within 2-3 weeks). I wonder how many times that can be done.. I like being able to upgrade the business cards quickly and also the Dell credit is pretty valuable for me. Might get my 6th business platinum soon!

  9. Conner says:

    Do Amex charge cards count against the 5/24 rule for Chase?

    • uiucderp2011 says:

      Well Amex business charge cards don’t show up in the credit report. It’s a good way to churn without having chase deny you a card

  10. Sheraz Cedeno says:

    Fantastic work! Thank you for this. Truly value added! I’m working on expanding the number of credit cards in my wallet.

  11. el_georgie says:

    OK Derp, thanks for putting all this info together for the rest of us!…I just upgraded my Freedom to CSR #2, super easy over the phone, ~5 mins. I’ve got to admit, I was skeptical about that PC, but it went smooth. Let’s see if I get the same MLA letter I got when opened the CSR #1. My dilemma right now is that the unlimited is under my spouse, and not sure how to get the MLA benefits for her, cause for me with Chase happened automatically. Need to dig up the letter, because I think in there they specified benefits applied to spouses as well….Thank you!!

  12. wedstuntpuller says:

    Derp, your Delta Reserve referral link on the 5 card table in your Optimum Holdings sticky thread leads to an error page.

  13. Nate says:

    How do you product change from AA Platinum to Prestige? How about from AMEX Green/Gold to Platinum and Ascend/Honors to Aspire?

    • uiucderp2011 says:

      I have not tried to upgrade, but I have downgraded my Citi AAdvantage platinum to bronze, and I did another one again to a double cash back.

      • Nate says:

        Got it. Based on your list, do you know people who have upgraded to those cards? Is it even possible to have more than one personal Aspire?

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