Here is a review of the most frequently asked questions relating to reward credit cards. Reviewing these is a great way to learn more about credit card miles and points. If there is a topic that is not covered below, please feel free to email me with a question at firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I choose which credit card is best for me?
A lot of that depends on the current credit card offers and what type of rewards you want to earn. Take a look at the current Top Deals page to see a list of my recommendations. Ultimately it comes down to what kind of travel rewards you want and how you will earn points that will let you get the best travel experiences.
What is the minimum credit score you recommend having before applying for credit cards?
Any score above 700 should be fine. Space out your hard inquiries and don’t let them build up in a short period of time so that there is a good chance you will get approved. Learn more about how hard inquiries affect your approval for a new card here. This being said, everyone’s credit history is different and there are many variables that are taken into consideration when getting approved for a credit card.
How do I get credit cards if I am a college student?
I really like answering this question because starting to take advantage of miles and points while still in college allows you to accumulate many miles early on and take trips that you normally would not be able to afford as a student. Depending on your credit history and situation it may be hard to break into the world of credit cards, but after you obtain your first credit card it gets a lot easier. By building a good credit score in college you will be able to improve it and use it for the rest of your life! This will pay off in many times over.
In my case, the first sign-up bonus I received was for 50,000 United miles. With these I was able to travel on almost two international round-trip tickets to South America! My credit score actually increased after starting to apply for credit cards because my total credit line increased. There is no “magic formula,” but generally increasing your total credit line is never a bad thing. After you obtain your first rewards credit card in college, you are well on your way to taking advantage of sign-up bonuses in the future. So the lesson is: start early, always pay off your bill in full, and sign-up and follow us so that you NEVER have to pay for traveling again.
Will applying for credit cards be detrimental to my credit score?
It all depends. In the short term your credit score may be affected and drop a few points because of the new hard credit inquiry. The impact to one’s credit is different for each individual case, and mostly depends on the individual’s credit history. Within a few months the impact of a hard inquiry basically disappears and within two years it no longer shows up on your report. This is why I recommend starting slow if you are going to take the route of signing up for multiple cards a year, this allows you to understand how your credit score will change after applying for a card or two.
How has your credit score changed since you started opening up multiple credit cards a year?
I believe that the advantages of free travel from credit card sign-ups far outweigh the small and short term impacts to my credit score so I tend to open up anywhere from 2-6 credit cards per year. Everyone’s goals and credit history are different, but in my case my credit actually increased once I started opening up new credit card accounts. This is the main benefit for college students to start early because in most cases opening a few new cards will increase your total credit limit and actually have positive impact on your credit score.
To be continued…