My wife and I average a new credit card every 1-2 months because we can usually make the spending requirements in that time and we don’t want to go overboard with potential of annual fees. Last month it was the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum World Select Mastercard that we earned 50,000 miles on for spending $3,000. We plan on banking those for now and can use them in the near future.
This month I wanted to dive into the AMEX Membership Rewards points because they are transferable to a variety of airline and hotel partners. I found the American Express Business Gold charge card.
Because I wanted to maximize my benefit I was excited to see an increase from the regular 25,000 points to a whopping 50,000 points for the card. The last enticement was that the annual fee of $175 is waived the first year you have the card.
Then I started looking around for targeted deals. Sometimes if you go on CardMatch from creditcards.com you can find increased offers for the same card. While that tool didn’t work for me, when I clicked a few links I did find an increased offer of 75k points for $10,000 of spending in three months.
Since my wife and I can pay our rent on a credit card this is doable (it’s sometimes a benefit to live in NYC with high rent). So, I applied and was immediately accepted. I can’t wait to get the card and earn extra points on certain categories (including flights booked directly with an airline).
Over the past several months of reading and using credit cards for miles and points purposes I’ve learned to keep tabs on how to get new credit cards (and when to cancel old ones) as well as the affect on my credit score/rating. Two websites have become very useful in that regard: CardMatch and CreditKarma. Both sites are totally free for use and have the highest levels of security. They are rated by major news sources like CNN and NY Times to be very effective in what they do. So now for a description of each:
Put simply, CardMatch helps you find credit cards that are right and available for you. After securely inputting your name, address, and social security number, it performs what is called a “soft pull” on your credit, which allows them to see your current status without negatively affecting your credit score or report. From that information, they make a list of credit card suggestions along with their policy and bonus information. For example, for me it made a generic list of types of cards and then got more specific once I scrolled through.
Once card it offered is the always-good Chase Sapphire Preferred. Drop me a line if you want a referral link.
While signing up and closing credit cards more frequently than the average user, it is important to know how this will affect your credit score. You may be coming up on a major purchase like a house that would require a mortgage or you may just want to keep your credit in its “excellent” rating. CreditKarma lets you look at your credit score while telling you where it comes from.
As you can see with the image to the left, you get some detail on what your score is as well as how that compares to what your score could be. Ideally it is best to be higher than 750 to be considered in the “excellent” category. Anything higher than that and a credit card issuer is likely going to get you a new card whenever you want (within the policy limits it has for itself). Each time you get a new card, this score will dip for a month or two but come right back up afterward.
You will also see what affects your credit score – it shows how many times someone performed a “hard pull” on your credit, how much of your credit you are using, and how many late payments you have.
There are more details on these site than what I’m showing here, of course, so you should definitely check then out. They are important parts of the Miles/Points crowd.