Updated on September 4, 2016
Updated on September 4, 2016
Anyone can get tons of free travel by simply signing up for credit cards. Want to go to Thailand? Just sign up for two credit cards and you’ll have more than enough miles for a roundtrip. Probably enough miles for a business class ticket even.
But there are so many credit cards out there (and many you can get more than once)- it makes total sense to apply for more cards when you need more trips. To scale the amount of free travel, just increase the number of credit cards you have.
Just from the millions of miles from credit cards, we’ve been able to fly all around the world and stay in some incredible hotels. Here are the flights we took last year on miles alone:
I won’t go into this for too long as there is already a lot of writing on how people with more credit cards end up having higher credit scores. But the basics are that your “credit score” has nothing to do with income and is completely related to how good you are at borrowing money.
Having credit, and paying it off well with on-time payments proves that you are trust worthy. Someone with 11 years of history has a much higher credit score. But similarly, that person would have a higher credit score if they had that history with 11 credit cards rather than 1 card.
Our credit score went from high 600s to high 700s within the first two years of getting multiple cards for miles.
There are also a few rules to having good credit:
As I’ll explain in a second, banks are weary of people who are desperate for credit, so they try not to give too much credit to people aggressively opening cards. But for whatever reason, perhaps it’s just how the credit bureaus work, they don’t notice when you apply to other banks if it’s on the same day.
They might deny you if they saw you opened up an account elsewhere yesterday, and yet, they don’t know if you do it all at once.
We have applied for as many as 5 or 6 cards on the same day and gotten approved for all of them. It helps if you also have a great credit score though. But if you have a credit score 700 or above (which is “excellent”) it is totally worth applying for 5.
Although this is not a hard rule at all, many times I’ve applied for cards every 30 days… but every 90 is safest for one reason. Banks are weary of people desperate for money, blowing all their money and going bankrupt. To open new cards they need higher credit limits.
In my experience, applying for cards 31+ days apart will come with more denials. Often they specifically tell us when we call that there are just too many new accounts.
Yet, when I wait at least 90 days I never hear them say I applied for too many cards recently. It seems to be the magic amount of time to prove that I’m not some crazy person looking to max out all my cards.
The point of doing it on the same day is that Bank of America won’t be able to tell if you just applied for a Citi card. However, if you apply for two Bank of America personal cards… that’s the exact same depart and they will know that you just applied for two cards and with most banks, you will surely get denied on one of them. Plus, it won’t look good.
The exception for everything is business cards. Business cards and personal cards are treated very differently and are often handled by very different departments.
This means that if you are applying for the American Airlines personal card you might as well go ahead and apply for the business one as well. It is the exception to the one per bank rule.
It also means that you can apply for the same card twice, basically. And the crazy part is that anyone can get a business card. Just see this post on how to fill out a business card application.
Often nowadays we automatically get declined for a card, but when we call, the bank is very apologetic and a person will often manually approve it for us.
Do not be afraid to call and ask them to reconsider you! It’s so normal. And often if they don’t want to give you more credit, you can just move the credit lines around from one card to another to open the new card – this is true with Chase at least.
Also, don’t call too soon. Just because it’s taking a long time for them to make a decision doesn’t mean that you aren’t on the right track. Back in the day a bunch of people applied for the AA cards and got a pending message – “your application is under review”. I and my friends got the same message but didn’t call just yet. Others did call at this point, and all of them got denied over the phone. My friends and I got our cards in the mail a little bit later.
Just let the denial letter come in the mail and there will be a phone number on it. That’s the number to call for reconsideration.
The reason Chase is so apologetic that we got automatically declined is because we use their cards. They want to approve people who use their cards, and they don’t want to give more credit to people who get their cards and never use them… they can’t make money that way.
They make money when people spend on the cards. They usually make a percentage, or unfortunately some people rack up too much debt and have to pay interest. Your goal is to be the person who makes them money from the actual spending so you can continue to get the miles.
To start out, pick cards that offer 50,000 miles or more! My exception is usually the Chase Sapphire Preferred which is 40,000 points nowadays.
As I’m about to explain, not all miles are created equal. In general I advise you to get United miles (or Chase points because they transfer 1:1 to United) and AA miles because they don’t pass on fuel surcharges. Plus they have generally good prices.
You don’t want to pay fuel surcharges, plus you don’t want something that charges double or triple miles because Delta or Virgin Atlantic appeared to have big bonuses. But in reality, they get you half as far.
Before you apply for any cards, make sure you read 4 cards 2 programs. It will talk about the best credit cards and how to know what the best cards are. It will also set you on the right track to get your first few cards.
Not all points are created equal, and so not all bonuses should be judged on the same scale. As a friend says, “if I offered you 100 dollars and 100 Japanese Yen, you would want to know how much they are worth in relation to each other.”
Similarly, you want to know what your miles are worth. But even if you’re not into all the research or caring about miles yet, let Drew recommend 4 cards for you.