I’ve spoken with quite a few friends and family who are concerned about having too many credit cards and what that might do to your credit score. It is a very valid concern. However keep in mind that debt like mortgages, student loans, and car loans are the best way to build your credit and have the largest impact.
I have had 8 different travel award credit cards (4 that remain open) at this point and have covered thousands of dollars worth of travel with sign up bonuses and mileage awards. I also currently have about 210,000 miles unused. Right now, my credit score is 803 with the biggest negative factor being my credit history age (4 years). Nothing much I can do about that. I’ve outlined some tips for opening and closing accounts as well as keeping track of your annual fees.
- Space out your opening and closing of credit card accounts by at least three months.
- Keep a running Google Doc / excel sheet of all of your current cards and annual fees
- Wait for the big bonuses. Do some research and wait for cards to run specials. Last March, I was able to get the United Explorer card with a 70k mile bonus by waiting for a targeted offer.
- If you are married, you can each get sign up bonuses. For example, my husband and I both got that Chase Sapphire Reserve for the original 100k mile bonus. Once we’ve used those miles, we’ll cancel one card and keep the other.
- Try to stick to cards that work across multiple airlines for the majority of your spending (Chase Sapphire Reserve, AMEX Platinum, Citi Prestige)
- If you do have one airline you frequent because of your location (mine is United) get their miles card for the checked bag, early boarding and lounge access perks.
- Pay off your balances in full every time. Do this and your credit score will only GROW.