Which Credit Card To Use When?

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We frequently discuss how different credit cards can best be leveraged in a given situation, but sometimes it can still be difficult to pinpoint exactly which cards make sense for you. Reader Matt H. posed this question last week on the Ask Lucky forum:

“I am sure this has been asked in a previous question, but I am having a problem finding exactly what I am looking for. I carry the following cards: Delta Reserve Amex, Delta Platinum and a Marriott Reward Visa Signature. I tend to just use my Delta Reserve for everything and the Delta Platinum and Marriott Visa for minor things. I am sure I am not getting the most benefit with how I am using them today and so I guess I am looking for maybe an ‘optimal’ way to use these cards. I really don’t want to get rid of any of them, but an open to considering it. Also, I travel to Europe A LOT for work and would love to get a chip and pin card. I really have problems in places like Amsterdam paying for train tickets at kiosks and POS terminals at shops and such when it calls for a chip/pin card. Any suggestions for that, as well, would be appreciated. Thanks!!”

We’ll get into the Chip + PIN and train kiosk question in a future post, because that has several components beyond just getting the most benefit from a certain card. To really come up with the best card strategy here we need a few more details on Matt’s travel goals, and how he anticipates using the miles.