My Strategy for Applying for Credit Cards to Earn Miles and Points

Credit cards is by far the easiest and quickest way to earn miles and points – hands down. By applying for credit cards, you’re able to utilize both sign up bonuses and normal day to day spending to earn the currency that will allow you to travel in style.

There’s a lot of different strategies to apply for credit cards, and while I think much of the strategy is the same across bloggers and travelers, I wanted to provide my take on how I do things, and how I utilize my cards.

Limited Time Offers Up To 50,000 Points

I apply for cards every 90 days

The best way to apply for credit cards to limit impact on your credit score is to apply every 90 days or so, since with this, you’ll minimize the hits on your score, and allow your score to pick back up prior to getting “hit” again with the next round of applications. The only deviation to this plan is when there’s a limited, worthy sign-up bonus that won’t be around when the 90 day mark hits – in that case I deviate and apply.

I apply for multiple cards at one time.

When I apply for cards at the 90 day timeframe, I apply for more than one card, since many times the applications, if done correctly, will only result in one inquiry to the credit bureaus. I open up the application windows for the cards I want to apply for, fill each one out, and simultaneously click “submit.” Doing this may result in the inquiry only being pulled once.

I pick one primary card and spend on it.

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I pick one credit card for a majority of my spend. While I know many will maximize the bonuses across 10 cards, I find a majority of spending on one card to be the best strategy for me, with some exceptions. For me, that’s American Express since I find their extended warranties and service to be worthy of everyday spending. Right now, I prefer the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card.

I don’t mess with cards I like.

If there’s a card brand I really like or card I really love, I don’t manufacture spend with it, or risk possible closure from the bank.

If I don’t get approved for a card right away, I call the reconsideration line immediately.

If I apply for a card and don’t get approved instantly, I may see a screen saying that I’ll receive a decision in a few days. For me, that isn’t worth the risk, since without providing more information, I’m more than likely to be denied. If I’m not approved right away, I immediately call the bank’s reconsideration line and see if I can provide more information to justify my acceptance to the card.

What are your tips, tricks and strategies for applying for and using credit cards?

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  1. Lynn says

    I was verbally told many times by Hawaiian Air that I would get discounted points for 1st class bookings. Once I got my card in the mail I called to confirm and I was told yes that’s true. It took so many phone calls to find out that I don’t get discounted points needed to book first class. So I have a HA credit card I’ll never use. So annoying! I called at least 10 times to confirm this.

      • Lynn says

        Yes 30k points but a 1st class tix is 80k. I was told that rather than 80k for example it would be 60k to book the 1st class seat. I don’t fly coach so it’s useless to me to have a 20k coach seat go for 17.5k points/miles. There isn’t one single HA Rep in the USA that will talk on the phone. It’s 100% Philippines.

        • says

          I’ve never heard that discount before, but maybe you were targeted for something. Sorry for the trouble you are experiencing! You can get the business version of the card to add to your miles, if you want.

          • Lynn says

            It’s a 1:1 unless booking on HA. So spending 80K to get a single first class tix isn’t a good deal for me. Do you know if the business card has a better ratio than 1:1? I fly to HNL a lot and need a good all around Credit card for 1st class tix. Is there one card that jumps out to you?

  2. Lynn says

    open to others. My next flight is on United. As long as it’s 1st I don’t care about the airline. thanks 🙂

  3. Lynn says

    No I haven’t. Do they have a good credit card for earning miles? I know there are general cards like chase cards and then of course airline specific cards. I just want one card for all purchases. Average 100k per year on card.

  4. mark says

    You mentioned thst there is a chance credig report will only get pulled is it oossible if you are getting cards from different banks?

  5. Mike D says

    Is it bad to apply for multiple cards from one bank? It seems like the cards that I want are all from Chase. I’ve already gotten two new cards from them this year. Am I pushing my luck going for more?

    • says

      Nope. Just apply for them over time instead of all at once. In your case, I’d recommend every 6 months. Make sure you spend on the cards, too, since Chase has denied people more cards if they don’t already spend on the ones they have now.

  6. Sam says

    Any advice on how to get any amex card. I applied and got the gold rewards but have been denied any other amex card right away.

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