I agree – it seems scary to apply to multiple credit cards at once or even to stagger multiple applications during a certain period of time. Most of us have never been eager to ask for credit other than for a home, a car, a student loan, or maybe 1 or 2 credit cards at most, in case of an emergency. (Note: If you’re planning to apply for large loans like a mortgage or a business loan, car loan, etc., you should avoid credit inquiries and new credit accounts as much as possible). Anything over that feels like it will murder our credit and thus we try to steer clear of unnecessary credit applications. That’s where some key information about how your credit is affected when you a) apply for a credit card, b) are approved for a credit card, and c) have a credit card will be very beneficial in helping you determine whether or not you want to enter the so-called ‘points and miles game’. I personally immersed myself in information (including the links from CreditCards.com I provided above) about how credit works, how i can improve it and how to maintain it before I did anything at all. Some 20 credit cards later, my credit is better than it was when I started. My wife’s is too!
Two great tools to help you keep on top of your credit score is Credit Karma and Discover’s Credit Scorecard. This combo will allow you to monitor your credit score for free and without any hard pulls on your credit for all 3 main credit bureaus: Experian, Transunion, and Equifax. Each of these 3 also offer credit monitoring services at a cost to you.
Other relevant material to consider:
I’m not saying that you absolutely need to have many credit cards at the same time to be ‘FIT for Miles and Travel’. However, it’ll be significantly difficult to meet your goals if you decide against it. Some years ago the best way to earn miles was to fly. Well those days are long gone to the point that flying won’t even make a dent on your Points Fitness, therefore we need to be creative – and credit cards are certainly our best friend.
Another thing to consider is how you’re going to meet the spend requirements of the cards you apply to. After all, that’s the whole purpose of applying for the card to begin with. There are many ways of doing so, some of which are highlighted here. Also, keep in mind the restrictions that Chase has put in place to make all this more difficult for us here.