How To Decide What Rewards Credit Card To Sign Up For Next

NOTE: Offers mentioned in this post may no longer be available.

When I’m ready to sign up for a new credit card it’s an exciting time for me and  I’ll read though the recent articles listing the “Best sign up bonuses” so I have an idea of what is available. Instead of making yet another list, I’ll give some insight into what I take into consideration when making the decision of which card to apply for next.

Know what offers you’re eligible for

I talked about this in the article, The confusing rules when applying for reward credit cards. Once you’ve been earning miles and points by signing up for credit cards for a while, there are offers out there you can’t take advantage of. For example, there are many American Express cards I’ve had before and because of AMEX’s once-in-a-lifetime rule, I’m not eligible for those sign up bonuses ever again. With Citibank, you are not eligible for a sign up bonus for cards that earn ThankYou points or Citi’s co-brand American Airlines personal cards if you’ve opened or closed similar cards in the last 24 months. Chase has their own limits on card applications preventing you from getting a card if you’ve applied for 5 or more cards in the last 24 months and not allowing you to get a sign up bonus for their Sapphire cards if you’ve earned one in the past 48 months. No worries though, as there are many more that you still can sign up for.  For example, besides having one card each from Barclays (JetBlue Plus and American Aviator), we don’t currently have cards from the other minor banks so if I wanted to, I could apply for any cards those banks are offering.

What type of miles/points do you want or need?

If you’re looking towards a specific redemption or just used a bunch of miles from an account you need to replenish, you should look for offers that earn those type of points or miles.

I used way too many miles to book an award ticket on Delta to salvage My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Travel Day (With A Happy Ending). It would then make sense to see if Delta has any good offers on their AMEX co-brand cards that I’d be eligible for. Sharon’s never had the Delta Platinum AMEX card before and the current offer is for 70,000 SkyMiles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 in the first three months so that’s a possibility for us.

I also have lower than usual balances of Chase Ultimate Rewards because I transferred points to Hyatt for our stays in Key West and Sedona. I’m currently working on reaching the spending requirement for the Ink Preferred business card, which offers 80,000 points for meeting the spending requirement of $5,000 in the 3 months after opening the card. Chase has been getting stingier with approving businesses for cards and I finally was able to convince them my business was real. I think I’ll leave Chase applications alone for a while.

Citi has a offer for the ThankYou Premier card that offers 60,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. It’s been over two years since we received a bonus on a ThankYou card and haven’t closed any accounts so we’re eligible. I feel that I’m obligated to sign up for this since I was one of the first people to discover the increased sign up bonus on this card.

What I’m going to do

Once I finish the spending requirement for the Ink Preferred card, I’m going to apply for the Citi Premier. We already have the Prestige and I’m considering cancelling it. If I do, then I’d have to wait another 24 months before being able to sign up for a ThankYou card and get a bonus. It makes more sense to apply for the card and then cancel the other one.

I’m happy that I have so many options available to me right now. I have to start making travel plans for next year and after those are booked I’m sure there will be some accounts I’ll need to replenish. I just don’t know what they are right now. Because of this, I am going to do the next best thing and focus on earning flexible points such as Citi ThankYou points. There are many airlines I can transfer ThankYou points to or I can use the points to book travel through the Citi travel portal.

Doesn’t having all of these credit cards ruin your credit?

If you think having multiple credit cards ruins your credit, you’re mistaken. I can say that if anything, my credit score has increased since I started getting additional cards. I feel fortunate that we are in a financial place where we can pay off our bills every month and not carry any credit card debt. That’s the main factor allowing us to sign up for credit card bonuses. I’m also responsible about paying my cards on time (I hate having to pay a late fee when I forget a bill, but it does happen occasionally). When we applied for a car loan, the salesman ran our credit and told us that we had “old people credit” because he had never seen a score so high from anyone besides, well, old people with no debt. I took it as a huge compliment.

How do you apply for cards? 

Up until now, I always did a quick search to make sure I was getting the best current offer available. I then went to a travel blog website that I liked and used one of their links to apply, so they could get whatever referral bonus was offered to them. It was a way I could pay them back for all of the time they spent on their blog/website (I still do this when applying for our credit cards. I’d be grateful if when you apply for cards I mention on my site you’d use my links. They provide extra miles for the trouble and I’d be very grateful.).

I’d like to hear if you are going to be signing up for any cards soon. Did this look into how I decide which card to get help you any? Do you have any questions about if the current offers are good ones. Let me know in the comments or write us on Facebook or Twitter.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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