Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
Applying for a new credit card can be scary. The thought of not getting approved may flash in your mind, with nightmares about a dire credit score ruining your life. But applying for a new credit card doesn’t have to be scary! The best travel credit cards have saved me and my family thousands of dollars in the past year alone. And my credit score has improved over the years! Here are some of the best travel credit cards that you might be missing out on:
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card (The BEST credit card for small business owners. I have this credit card!)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (The BEST credit card for beginners — I started with this credit card.)
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® (The HIGHEST American Airlines miles bonus, a great way to build your stash!)
We’re sharing 5 credit card application tips that will make you feel more confident when applying for the best travel credit cards!
Our Top 5 Credit Card Application Tips
1. Check your credit score
If you have a credit score of at least 720, you’ll have a better chance of getting approved for the best credit card offers. There are lots of free websites where you can get your credit score. We recommend getting a free copy of your credit report once a year for a detailed look into your accounts. I usually check my credit every ~3 to 4 months to make sure everything looks good.
If you don’t have a credit score of at least 700, then consider applying for the Capital One Secured Mastercard which can help build your credit. Put a small recurring charge on the credit card and pay it off in full each month.
2. Strategize your minimum spending
The best credit card offers have a minimum spending requirement you’ll need to meet. Those requirements are usually ~$3,000 to $5,000 in a 3 to 5 month time frame. So it’s important to plan ahead a little bit to ensure you can hit the minimum spending requirements.
If you have a large purchase to make, it can be a great time to apply for a new credit card! If you need ideas, check out How to Meet Credit Card Minimum Spend – 40 Powerful Ways! Just be sure you can pay off the bill in full when it’s due, because you don’t want to pay interest fees.
3. Know which credit card to get
There are so many credit cards out there that it can be confusing to know which one to get. I always recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for people who are new to the miles and points hobby and are getting their feet wet. I had this Chase credit card when I first started earning credit card rewards points for travel!
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is great because the 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points you can earn after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening can be easily be redeemed for:
- Flights on Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. I found one-way flights on Southwest for ~6,000 points! Check where you’d like to fly and see how many points you need. Use Southwest Airlines’ low fare calendar to get the cheapest prices.
- Hotels at Hyatt. I recently booked a super fancy all-inclusive hotel stay at the Hyatt Ziva in Los Cabos, Mexico for just 20,000 points per night. That means you can get 2 nights free with just 1 credit card!
- Travel via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, which is powered by Expedia. This is the easiest way to use your points!
I love the flexibility of this credit card! Another excellent benefit of the Chase Sapphire Preferred is that you will earn 2X points per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases.
4. Lower your credit utilization ratio
If you already have credit card balances, it’s better to pay off your existing debt before applying for a new credit card. Having a high debt utilization ratio negatively impacts your credit score and reduces the chance that you’ll get approved. For example, it’s much better if you have a credit limit of $10,000 and only be using ~$1,000 of the available credit, than to have a credit limit of $10,000 and be using $5,000. To calculate your ratio, divide the total you owe on your credit cards by the total credit limits.
5. If you’re denied, contact the credit card reconsideration department
If you’re initially denied after applying for your credit card, then contact the credit card reconsideration department. Many times, they need to clarify information before approving you for the credit card. Be friendly and explain why you want the card. If you’ve experienced financial mistakes in the past, be truthful about those mistakes and how you are working on rebuilding your credit.
You can also mention your long relationship that you’ve had with the credit card issuer (if you have one). Issuers can’t approve everyone who calls the reconsideration line, but the customer service agents do try to help get you approved. For example, my mom initially got denied for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card but called the Chase reconsideration line and got approved!