Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
I was recently approved for a 2nd certain hotel credit card while still having my 1st one open! But the hotel did something odd…I’ll show you later!
I really wanted to get in on the 50,000 mile limited-time Barclaycard US Airways sign-up bonus and a few others, so last month I applied for 5 cards and was approved for 4 (I’m still waiting to hear back on #5)!
Read This Before Applying!
In the short term, signing-up for credit cards will reduce your credit score by 3 to 8 points per application. But your score should go back to what it used to be or even increase. That’s because you’ll have a lower debt utilization ratio when you get more credit.
I do NOT recommend applying for credit cards if you’ll be taking out a major loan within the next 1 to 2 years.
Emily and I pay our credit cards off every month. Carrying balances on your cards and paying interest usually negates any savings you get with miles and points.
If you are new to this, please read the 5 Dangers of Credit Cards before applying for a card.
Note: You should NOT apply for multiple cards just because I or other bloggers do. As always, do what feels right for you!
And be sure you can meet the minimum spending requirements. There is no harm in applying for just 1 or 2 cards at a time.
If I were applying for a big loan, I wouldn’t apply for any credit cards until I had my loan. It’s much better, in my opinion, to do everything possible to get a low interest rate on the big loan 1st, and then apply for credit cards.
And to be as conservative as possible, I wouldn’t apply for many cards in the 2 years before a mortgage or refinance.
Set Travel Goals
Emily and I set travel goals and then we collect the miles and points we’re going to use.
Our goals are simple. We want to have enough miles and points to travel within the US in coach to visit friends, to go to Michigan or Ohio to visit family, and to have weekend getaways.
We also want to travel internationally 2 or 3 times a year. We prefer Business or First Class, but we’ll choose a flight in coach if it means fewer connections and more time at our destination.
We also need hotel points because we have to stay somewhere. We’re not picky about the airline we fly or hotel we stay in, as long as we can save money while traveling.
So having points spread among different airline, hotel, and cash back cards gives us lots of options when it’s time to book our trips!
Credit Card Resources
Here are resources that list the best miles and points deals and tips on meeting the minimum spending.
- Hot Deals tab, which lists my favorite cards with a large sign-up bonus or great perks
- 40+ Powerful Ways To Complete Your Credit Card Minimum Spending Requirements to unlock sign-up bonuses
- Paying bills such as rent, car loans, student loans, and other bills
4 Cards From 4 Different Banks
Emily and I usually apply for credit cards from different banks every 3 or 4 months, so we don’t have credit inquiries (which happens every time you apply for credit) hitting only 1 credit bureau.
I limit the number of inquiries with each of the credit bureaus. Because banks don’t like seeing a lot of inquiries (especially in the last 6 to 12 months) on your credit report. Applying for 1 or 2 cards at a time shouldn’t have much impact.
There are 3 main credit bureaus in the US: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Banks usually request your credit report from 1 (or more) of these credit bureaus. The credit bureau used depends on where you live and from which bank you’ve applied for credit.
1. Barclaycard US Airways
Link: Barclaycard US Airways
I applied for the Barclaycard US Airways card 1st, because Barclaycard doesn’t like seeing a lot of inquiries on your credit report. I wanted to get this card again because for a limited time, the sign-up bonus is 50,000 miles after you pay the annual fee and make a purchase.
US Airways miles will soon become American Airlines miles. And this card won’t be around for much longer. Although existing cardholders will be converted to the new Barclaycard Aviator cards, which won’t be open to new applicants.
If you already have a Barclaycard, like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard, they like to see you using it! And they don’t generally approve folks for more than 1 or 2 cards per year.
I was instantly approved for the card with a $12,500 credit limit!
2. American Express Starwood Preferred Guest (Business)
American Express has limited sign-up bonuses on their personal cards. Now, you can only get the bonus ONCE per personal card, per lifetime.
But that’s not true of their business cards! I’ve held this card in the past, but because it’s been more than 12 months since I’ve had the card, I qualified for the bonus again!
As sometimes happens with American Express business card applications, they needed more information from me before they would approve the card.
So I called, gave them the details they needed, and was approved!
3. Bank of America Alaska Airlines
The Bank of America Alaska Airlines card gets you 25,000 Alaska Airlines miles after approval and payment of the $75 annual fee.
I’ve had this card before, too. I like Alaska Airlines miles because you can use them for award tickets on other airlines, like American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Emirates.
I didn’t get instantly approved for this card, either.
But after a few days, Bank of America let me know that they had approved my application! Phew!
4. US Bank Club Carlson
I took a chance applying for the US Bank Club Carlson card, because I actually applied for (and got) this card in June 2014. So I wasn’t sure if they would approve me for a 2nd one.
One of my favorite things about this card (other than the 85,000 point sign-up bonus) is that you get your last night free on award stays of 2 nights or more. So on a 2-night stay, you’re basically getting 2 nights for the price of one!
I applied using my existing Club Carlson membership number. And I was approved instantly!
Here’s something strange…Even though I applied using my existing Club Carlson account number, they created a new account for me when they issued the card!
So now I have 2 different Club Carlson accounts! I wonder if they’ll let me merge them?
Many of the miles and points Emily and I use to get Big Travel with Small Money come from credit card sign-up bonuses.
Sometimes you can have 2 of the same card open. In this case, I was able to get a 2nd Club Carlson card.
The amount of money you have to spend to earn the bonus points may seem like a lot, but there are lots of ways to meet the minimum spending requirements!
Credit card sign-up bonuses are great way to earn lots of miles and points, but you HAVE to be careful. Don’t apply for credit cards if you can’t pay off the entire balance each month, or if you’re applying for a big loan in the next 1 to 2 years.
And before applying, you should read The 5 Dangers of Credit Cards.