I'll just lay out what I have and what I'm doing as of now.
In 2013, I got a Cap One Venture, CSP, Freedom, Amex SPG, and Chase Ink Plus.
I'll be downgrading/canceling Cap One this month. I only got it to improve my credit profile for the later cards.
2013 was spent getting my "keepers" that I intend to use for every day spend over the long term. The Amex SPG gives me diversification and access to a lot more airlines in case I need them.
Now, I'm on burner patrol, looking for cards that serve a specific purpose for specific travel plans.
Yesterday, I was approved for the Barclay's World Arrival. I got this card because I have to attend two separate weddings that just happen to be in Boston on back to back weekends in May. The receptions are at the Intercontinental and Hyatt, which are expensive, but $100 off the regular nightly rate so IMO, it didn't make sense to get their hotel specific cards for the free night bonuses, as I wouldn't get full value for them. I may end up keeping this card for the incidentals coverage (ticket taxes, non category spend, TripIt Pro and free FICO). We'll see.
These two trips would cost approx. $2,000 in airfare and hotels for two people, but as of this second, will cost me $1,000, and probably a bit less by May if I load up on Barclays a bit. Why people who are good with money are scared of credit cards is irrational.
Basically, you're trying to build a strategy, and be mindful of the next goal as you're reaching the one at hand. And I'll adjust as other programs get better/worse.
This post was edited on 1/15 at 11:29 am