Well, after three months of weighing my options I finally pulled the trigger on my 2nd quarter credit card apps.  Sometimes it’s so hard to decided with so many great offers to choose from.  I always sweat and hope I’ll be approved.  Don’t know why though.  I always end up getting approved.  Even with high credit scores sometimes I don’t get an instant approval and I have to call the reconsideration lines for approval.  I then have to explain to the representative why they would be crazy not to approve me (Need these numbers – go here).  My current credit scores are awesome.  Experian 795, Transunion 779, and Equifax 804 (no one ever checks my Equifax report).  My husband & I have no debt but our mortgage.  No car payments.  No negatives on my credit.  Never miss a payment.  Excellent payment history with Chase, AMEX, Citibank, Barclays, etc.  The only negative is the inquires on my reports because of numerous credit card applications over the years.  My Experian report currently has 22 inquires.  About 5 of these inquires will fall off this year (inquires remain for 2 years) but I’ve put on 6 others.  So it’s a wash there.  This recent round I seem to have all female reps which I always feel are much harder to work with than male reps (interesting huh).  They are much more questioning about why I want this new card and why I have so many inquires.  Once I nicely ask them to really take a look at my credit history and remind them how extremely low risk I am to the lender they really have no choice but to approve my request.  The bank certainly doesn’t want to be turning away customers with credit scores like mine.  You don’t get these type of scores without working for them over the years and making good financial choices.  Last quarter I had a fun time discussing with the Bank of America rep why I need two Hawaiian Airlines cards.  You see I applied at the same time for both the Hawaiian Airlines card through Bank of America and through Bank of Hawaii but Bank of America services Bank of Hawaii’s card.  I just explained that I wanted to separate my expenses.  My credit was strong enough so they gave me both cards and just divided the credit limit they would allow me.

My purpose in writing this article is to share with you how your good credit can truly be an incredible asset. You can use this asset to earn free travel (money essentially).  You need to be wise and prudent.  You need to monitor your credit and not go crazy applying for everything under the sun.  You also need to pick your credit card bonuses wisely.  Have a travel plan.  Set a goal and then go after it.  Research the program of the miles/points you are apply for.  Will those miles/points help you achieve your travel objective?  My style is slow and steady.  I apply every 3 months or so for credit cards I’ve done my research on and will help me achieve my upcoming travel goals.  Remember, your credit is one of the most valuable assets you have.  You don’t want to mess it up.  Some people feel as though applying for many credit cards over the years will hurt your credit and impact it in a negative way.  This is just not an opinion based upon experience or fact.  I know from personal experience this is not the case.  I’ve been applying for credit cards to build my “travel bank” for years and my scores are still excellent if not higher than when I started.  Just to give you an example I’ve taken a snap shot of my last two year.  You will see how my score fluctuates but never drops below an excellent range.  Your score actually increases when you get credit cards too.  It doesn’t just go down from credit inquires.  Each credit card application will decrease your score 2-3 points.  Not much and well worth the bonus miles/points you will receive.  After a few months go by your score will rebound back up to where it was before.  The longer you have good credit history the more it helps to increase your score.  Take a look below at my last year in recap.

This graph actually shows my credit score from August 2010 to present.  So you can see how it has gone up and down but has continued to increase.  From August 2010 to present I have secured 26 credit cards and earned a total of 1,550,000 miles/points.  I believe these earnings are actually very conservative compared to others I know that take advantage of credit card bonuses.  I like to be conservative and don’t apply for every deal.  I’m calculated and patient in my applications.  Keep in mind this is just my earnings from credit card bonuses and not my earnings for other opportunities out there.  There are many other earning opportunities for miles and points hounds like myself.
My point in share this data is not to brag or impress you (not my style) but to show you the power of your credit score.  If you currently don’t have good credit then I would suggest you work to pay off your debt, look for ways to repair your credit, and get your score up before trying to get into this part of mile/point collecting.  Need help repairing your credit?   Read this page.  You can also check out these credit cards that can help you build your credit back.  It is a process but you too can have good credit and use it as an asset like many other assets you own.  You own your credit.  So take care of it, nurture it and it will love you back!
If don’t know where to start, take a look at my Credit Monitoring” section.  You can find great sources to monitor your credit for free.  I personally use www.creditsesame.comwww.creditkarma.com,  and www.freecreditscore.com.  The first two do not require a credit card and are completely free.  With www.freecreditscore.com you can get your complete reports with a free trial membership.  It is important to get a full copy of all your reports to review the details and be sure everything has been reported correctly.  If you find errors you can report than and get them corrected.  Sometimes an easy correction can really increase your score.  Be sure to cancel the membership before the trial period is up if you don’t want to continue to pay.  Know your credit score and monitor regularly.
If you already have excellent credit and you just don’t know what to apply for then I would suggest developing a plan.  Set a goal!  Where do you want to go?  What hotels do you want to stay at?  How many points do you need to pay for your accommodations?  How many miles do you need to fly there?  What airline is the best to take you there for the least amount of miles?    Once you have a plan it will be much easier to determine what credit card bonuses will help you achieve this goal.  Then sometimes there are offers which are just “hot” deals and you just grab the miles/points and figure out later what you’ll do with the earnings.  If you need help coming up with a plan, feel free to email me and I will help you put something together.  Give me a few days to review your ideas and get back to you with some different options for you to consider.  You can also check out my new “Master Credit Card Guide” tool to research which card might earn you the miles and point to achieve your goals.  Feel free to email me and I’ll be more than happy to help you in any way I can.


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