Our Credit Card Tracking Excel Sheet (Plus All Of Our Data!)

One of the most important factors in mastering credit card signup bonuses is staying organized.  Keeping track of every new credit card that you open, the minimum spend details, and potential annual fees is crucial to ensure you’re not missing out on any points or paying unnecessary fees.

Ever since we first got into the travel hacking credit card game a few years ago, we’ve tracked everything in an Excel sheet.  It wasn’t perfect at first and contained a lot of unnecessary information (that I never referenced after inputting), but it’s evolved into a very useful tool for tracking both of our credit cards.  Recently I cleaned it up a bit for public consumption and am sharing it with you here 100% free.

Not only can you grab your own copy of the excel document, but I even included a behind the scenes look at our own credit card strategy!  You can see every credit card my wife and I have ever opened with dates and signup bonus details to help formulate your own application plan.

Keep reading for a link to download your own copy, plus instructions on how to get the most out of the different tabs.  Consider this an early Christmas present!

Download Your Own Copy

I’ve uploaded the excel into a publicly view-able Google Sheet that can be found here:

If you like Google Sheets, then feel free to “Make a copy” and start editing.  If you prefer working in Excel, then Google provides an easy option to download it in that format:

File -> Download as -> Microsoft Excel (.xlsx)

How to Input Your Own Data – “Credit Card Details” Tab

If you’ve already clicked the link above, then you can see that the excel document is already full of data!  This was no accident and the data is there to provide an example of how to use the document.  Not only does it provide that example, but the data included is our actual credit card stats as of December 2017.

Every single credit card Becky and I have ever opened is listed out with dates and the important signup bonus details.  Hopefully it gives you an idea of what is possible if you take the time to learn the process and maybe it will inspire you to elevate your own travel hacking game.

Of course, the spreadsheet will prove much more useful if you put your own information in.  After downloading your own copy of the document, feel free to wipe out everything below the 1st row (keep the headers) and start filling in your own information.

Here’s a brief overview of what each column means and where else that data is used.  Each row contains a single credit card that has been opened:

  • Person – Identifier to distinguish between multiple people that are opening new cards.  Both of the other tabs use this column to match statistics to each individual.  If you are only tracking cards for a single person, then just use the same name for every row.
  • Bank – Identifier for what bank issues the credit card. “Bank of America”, “Citi”, and “Amex” are matched to the “Application Rules” tab in order to count those bank’s specific cards, so be careful not to misspell them for it to work correctly.  Currently, no other banks have specific string matching.
  • Card – Identifier for the specific credit card.  This column is not referenced anywhere else.
  • Opened – Date that the card was opened (the “01/01/2000” format works best).  Used in both the “Stats” and “Application Rules” tabs.
  • Closed – Date that the card was closed (blank if still open) (the “01/01/2000” format works best).  Used in the “Stats” tab for calculating total number of currently open cards.
  • Minimum Spend – Spend required for signup bonus.  Not referenced anywhere else.
  • Point Bonus – Number of miles/points earned from the signup bonus.  Used in the “Stats” tab.  (I convert free hotel nights to their point equivalent value here)
  • Cash Bonus + Other “Cash” – Any cash earned from the signup bonus (that isn’t in the form of points) + cash equivalents like airline and travel credits.  Used in the “Stats” tab.
  • Annual Fee – The annual fee for the first year that the card is open.  Used in the “Stats” tab.
  • Notes – Anything else you want to mention about the card.  The notes you see in there from me are mostly for fun, but you can use this column to keep track of bonus categories, spending bonuses, or any card benefits that are worth remembering.  Not referenced anywhere else.

Also, each of the columns in this tab are set up with a Filter.  If you only want to see the details for a single person or only from a single bank, then click the arrow shape in the header next to the column title you want to filter:

The “Stats” Tab – Mostly Just for Fun

Once you’ve entered all of your data into the “Credit Card Details” tab, you can head over to the “Stats” tab at the bottom of the page to see some fun stats!  This sheet will automatically populate if you change the default “Noah” and “Becky” in cells B2 and C2 to match whatever name(s) you used in the “Person” column of the first tab.

Statistics include how many cards were opened each year, how many points and miles were earned, how much was paid in annual fees, lifetime totals, and how many credit cards are currently open today.

The “Application Rules” Tab – Useful for Choosing Your Next Card

In addition to the fun stats, I’ve also included a tab that automatically calculates your 5/24 status and several other bank specific application rules.  Once again, the data will populate automatically if you change the default “Noah” and “Becky” to match the name(s) used in the “Person” column in the first tab.

This data will automatically update daily based on the current date and the date in the “Opened” column of the “Credit Card Details” tab.

I’ve also included conditional formatting to highlight less than desirable results in red.  As you can see in the image below, Becky is currently safe to apply for another Bank of America card while I need to wait until a couple applications roll out of the 12 and 24 month periods.  Neither of us are safe to apply for a Chase card that enforces the 5/24 rule:

NOTE: I added a small buffer to some of the calculations to be safe.

If you know of any additional stats that would be useful here, I’d be happy to add them!  One that I considered but didn’t end up using was looking at the max number of Amex cards allowed at one time.  I chose not to add it because it would have required adding a “Charge vs. Credit” field on the details tab that wouldn’t be applicable to the majority of cards.

Any Suggestions to Make It Better?

The current state of this Credit Card Tracking document is the best balance I’ve found between simplicity and usefulness, but I’m certain there is room for improvement!

The ambitious side of me wants to create a new tab that lists out ALL the current credit cards available and automatically determines which ones each person is eligible for based on the existing “Credit Card Details” tab, but that remains out of scope for the time being.

If you have anything a little less ambitious like credit card application rules I didn’t include, additional stats that would be fun to calculate, or anything else, let me know below!

Also, I tried to keep the above instructions simple, but I’ve been using Excel for a while and may have left out something critical for an excel amateur!  I’d be happy to dive into more details or explain how any of the calculation formulas work in the comments below.

Hopefully you find some value from our own personal credit card data and/or the Credit Card Tracking excel sheet!


38 thoughts on “Our Credit Card Tracking Excel Sheet (Plus All Of Our Data!)

    1. Mostly luck! I was able to apply when someone on reddit found a leaked link for the application page before the card was even released. This applciation wasn’t enforcing 5/24 and I was instantly approved.

      My wife on the other hand visited a local Chase branch and was pre-approved for the card which bypassed 5/24 at the time.

      Unfortunately, neither of these methods are useful for someone trying to get the card now.

        1. It’s not that in branch approvals don’t bypass 5/24 anymore, it’s just that they no longer appear to be pre-approving anyone for the CSR, in branch or otherwise. If you’ve seen any datapoints to the contrary recently, I’d love to see them!

  1. I have my own spreadsheet for cards, and I assign a valuation (cents/point) to various points in different programs. There are some well-known travel blogs which publish their own valuations, but I prefer to make my own by looking at trips I want to take and researching how I would save by using various points compared to paying for a similar itinerary using cash.

    Using that, I estimate the value of potential signup bonuses of new cards that I am considering, taking into account annual fees as well as opportunity cost of the min spend if I were to meet that spending on the best card that I currently have. I can then rank my potential new cards in terms of value. I have found that this really helps me decide which card I should get next as there are usually clear winners once you start comparing the bonus values apples to apples.

    1. That sounds pretty extensive, but a good way to evaluate new cards. Comparing the signup bonus versus upcoming trips is smart to make sure you aren’t earning points that will just sit in your account for ages.

      With our upcoming year-long road trip, we have been focusing on a lot of hotel cards lately as you may have noticed. We have plenty of airline miles to cover future trips, but certainly not enough points to cover all the nights we plan on spending in hotels next year.

    1. I do not know of an easy way to find out when you closed cards. For the spreadsheet above, a ballpark estimate will work just fine because the actual close date isn’t used in any of the calculations. The “Currently Open Cards” calculation only looks for the existance of a close date.

      1. Good call! Credit Karma does have a close date listed on the credit report. It doesn’t match exactly with the dates I called to cancel, but it very close. Assuming you can match up the cards (usually just a bank name is given), this would allow you to go back and fill in any close dates from the past 10 years.

    1. Awesome! I always recommend people start slow and get a feel for the process before diving in too deep. If you finish off that first card without any hassles or problems, then ramp up to your heart’s content. 🙂

  2. Noah this is great!!! 2 questions for you:

    How do you get this sheet to reflect cards where you pay $0 fee in year one, and keep it and pay a fee in year #2. For example, this year we will have paid $0 for our IHG but next year will be paying $49.

    Secondly-saw you closed your Hyatt cards with the 2 night bonus in July of this year, and re-upped later this year. I thought I needed to wait 2 years between signups?! Did this work for you due to it being a new bonus?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Ellen,

      My primary goal with this tracking sheet is to keep track of open credit cards and to make sure I’m coming out ahead in the first year of each card. Basically, I want to make sure the annual fees I’m paying are more than made up for by the cash and points earned in that first year.

      Beyond the first year, I treat any annual fees as regular spending (often in our “Travel” category) rather than something to do with our “Churning” performance. That is why they don’t show up in this sheet. For similar reasons, I don’t include non-signup bonus points/miles earned because those are more incidental than related to opening new credit cards for the bonus.

      Hopefully that explains how we do it, but I’m sure others have different ways of categorizing annual fees like that. Find something that works for you!

      As for the Hyatt cards, Chase’s rule is 24 months between bonuses. We got the bonus the first time around, cancelled the card 2 years later when I annual fee became due, then waited a few more months to be safe before applying again. When you close the card doesn’t matter for Chase’s signup bonus eligibility rules. Also, the bonus changing doesn’t change the 24 month rule.

      Keep in mind that every bank’s rule is different. For example, Citi phrases their policy differently and requires 24 months from opening OR closing an account, so their cards require a different strategy.

      Hopefully that helps!

  3. Very, interesting. Thanks Noah! I didn’t know about the following rules:

    BoA 2/2 months
    BoA 3/12 months
    BoA 4/24 months

    Esp 4/24 – seems more restrictive than Chase! Do you how strictly this is followed by BoA?

  4. I was using notepad to track this information for myself and my wife up until this point and it was becoming unwieldy. Thanks for sharing. This is really helpful. I’m interested in your response to first question asked by ELLEN about tracking AF. Also, in Application Rules sheet, 5/24 rule also considers the business cards from Chase and Amex which does not count towards 5/24. Is there a way an easy way to fix that?

    1. Thanks Mandeep, I’m glad you find the sheet useful!

      That’s a good call-out about my 5/24 calculation including business cards that don’t show up on the credit report (and therefore don’t count). This is a limitation that unfortunately isn’t very easy to fix without adding additional columns to the sheet. I would need a column to distinguish business vs. personal and a lookup table matching each bank with whether or not their business cards were reported to the credit bureaus.

      So, it’s definitely possible. Maybe I will make a slightly more complex V2 that includes this extra information, thanks for the suggestion.

  5. Awesome! Thank you for posting, I have a similar couple tabs in my massive budget with 30+ tabs 🙂 The only slight differences in mine is including the limit on each card, a running total of how many have opened in the last 2 years, the date to consider closing, and the cumulative dollar savings from our travel hacking. Much less than yours would be! Also, looking forward to CampFI this year!

    1. We’re really excited for CampFI as well!

      The limit on each card is something I dropped in this version of the sheet because while it’s fun to see your total limit across cards, we never actually used that information for any purpose. I do have the 2 year running total in the form of the Chase 5/24 rule. As for the date to consider closing, we usually just wait until the annual fee shows up, then we decide to keep, downgrade, or cancel.

      The dollar savings is interesting, do you assign a cash value to every type of point? I prefer to wait until we actually redeem the points/miles before I count any of it as “savings”, the earning portion is just step 1.

      Cheers

      1. Agreed, assigning a cash value to each point is meaningless IMO. I say that when the rest of my budget has all kinds of projections and assumptions built into it! What really matters is the actual dollar savings achieved. So far we’ve saved $6,828 (but after-tax dollars!) and having spent $513 on fees/churning costs, etc. We have a couple hundred thousand points “in the bank” as well. We also don’t worry about maximizing the return per point. We travel to the locations we want, even if the point value isn’t optimal (Iceland last year, Hawaii next year) and then see how it we can fit some savings into the trip.

        1. Sounds like we think about points and miles in pretty much the same way! We also try to avoid getting caught in the trap of “Maximum redemption value” and focus on subsidizing any travel we happen to be doing.

    1. We used to track the min spend timelines and annual fee dates, but found that we never actually used that information. We pretty much stick to one new card at a time and track how much we’ve spent on it. It’s very rare that we come close to the deadline before meeting the spend, plus it’s always easy to just add 3 months from the Open date if we need to. Same thing with annual fees, we just wait until the fee hits the statement before deciding whether to keep, downgrade, or cancel the card.

      The date of retention offers is interesting, we’ve ended up taking very few of those ourselves, but I can see tracking those being useful.

      I’d be interested to hear more about how you use some of the info you mentioned, are you frequently opening the excel sheet to decide what card to use? For the cancellation dates, do you have reminders set up outside of the spreadsheet or simply rely on yourself checking it frequently enough to catch them ahead of time?

      Thanks!

      1. Tracking the minimum spend information for me and my wife is easy enough, but I now also track for my dad and mom. I don’t automate any upcoming deadlines outside of Excel, but I use a hidden =TODAY() cell to trigger conditional formatting highlighting for any dates within 30 so that I can check to see if spends have been met and bonuses have been posted. As for bonus post dates, I started tracking those since I had been confused by Chase’s language about eligibility for a bonus being triggered from date we last received a bonus.

        1. Nice, I like your use of conditional formatting to highlight upcoming important dates. Thanks for clarifying.

          For Chase’s 24 month rule, I usually just add a buffer of ~4 months on top of our application date because I haven’t tracked when the bonuses were rewarded. Tracking the bonus post dates is much more precise.

  6. Hello,
    Hope all is well with you with the gap year.
    Just wondering how you are calculating the annual fees on with the cards that you are keeping multiple years.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Sang, we track annual fees just like any other expense. Once it’s past the first year, it’s less of a “churning” expense and more of a travel expense in most cases because we are keeping them open for travel benefits/credits/etc, but I still put them all into a single “churning” category.

  7. alternative to spreadsheet for credit card tracking is bonuspit.com, they track all your cards as well as anti churning rules to automatically determine which bank/card you can and should open next, so you don’t get rejected

  8. Newbie travel hackers would love to see an updated spreadsheet as many offers are time related. Curious how many you are closing etc as well. Love the site.

    1. Hey Chris, thanks for the reminder!

      The shared sheet is now up to date with all of our cards and cancellation dates. We’ve slowed down applying for new cards this year as we travel around the country, but plan to pick it back up again once we settle into a new routine.

      Cheers

      1. Much appreciated. One additional question if you don’t mind. I see individual posts about some specific trips taken, but is anyone aware of sites that detail best bang for your CUR points or other good value redemption’s. In addition, can you do all inclusive trips to Caribbean resorts. I have been unable to find much info on this. It would appear as people set up each piece themselves. Flights, Car, Hotel etc in pieces.

        1. I believe the overall goal of any good travel hacker should be to focus on reducing the cost of trips you were probably going to take anyway. For that reason, focusing too much on redemption value or cents per point misses the point.

          However, if you are looking for ideas, posts like that do exist. Just remember that this site is mostly trying to sell credit cards, so don’t take it as gospel:
          https://thepointsguy.com/guide/redeeming-chase-ultimate-rewards-maximum-value/

          As for all-inclusive resorts, they are possible with UR through Hyatt transfers and make for a great use of points. My wife and I have done trips like that twice, but you do have to build the flight and transportation around it yourself. Here are posts summarizing how we booked them:
          http://moneymetagame.com/churning/how-we-booked-4-all-inclusive-nights-in-cancun-for-160/
          http://moneymetagame.com/churning/a-cabo-san-lucas-all-inclusive-on-points-miles-and-164/

          If you’re talking about spending a certain amount to cover flights, hotels, and transportation all in a single transaction, then I’m not aware of a way to do that with points. If someone knows otherwise, please chime in!

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