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:
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!