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.

  1. Space out your opening and closing of credit card accounts by at least three months.
  2. Keep a running  Google Doc / excel sheet of all of your current cards and annual fees
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Try to stick to cards that work across multiple airlines for the majority of your spending (Chase Sapphire Reserve, AMEX Platinum, Citi Prestige)
  6. 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.
  7. Pay off your balances in full every time. Do this and your credit score will only GROW.

 

 

What you need to know about cranking travel credit cards.

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