I know it’s common for people to try to avoid credit cards like the plague, I mean the average American does have around $6.7k in credit card debt, but if done right, the benefits far outweigh the risk. I use my credit card to pay for EVERYTHING, pay it off monthly, and in turn receive points that I can use for things like traveling (Maldives anyone?)!
I get a lot of questions about how I can travel so often, so I figured I’d let everyone in on my little secret! Coupled with some aggressive deal hunting and frugal spending, my Chase Sapphire Credit Card offers some BOMB benefits that keep me on the go, for the low!
But first things first!
Do you know the benefits of having good credit?
Those with “good credit,” a score starting at 670, receive better interest rates, higher credit limits, easier credit approval, don’t need a cosigner and even easier loan approval. Ever heard of CREAM (Cash Rules Everything Around Me)? Well, that should be CREDIT, okuurrr (Cardi B v.)!
Do you know how to build good credit?
Your credit score is composed of varying factors such as utilization, credit age, on-time payment and, amount of accounts. You want to be strategic with looking at what accounts you open, how many hard inquiries are completed and most importantly your money management. Credit age is something that most people don’t take advantage of, parents I encourage you to make your children authorized users on your credit cards to give your kids a head start on building credit.
Lastly, do you know how to check your credit score?
Sites such as CreditKarma.com allow you free access to your credit score, but it’s not always the most reliable source. Most credit or debit card companies are now allowing you access to your FICO score or even printing it directly on your monthly statements, #winning. You can also go directly to Experian, Equifax, and Transunion to view your scores and dispute errors.
Because your credit score and knowing the basis of credit are so crucial to opening any new accounts, it was important we addressed that! But now, on to determining what credit card bests suit you. A few things to think about:
- What do you want out of a credit card
- What cards do you currently have, if any
- Your credit score & how it will impact you
- What rewards are most important to you? Cash Back? Travel Points
- Do you want to go with an airline specific card? Or company loyalty?
- To annual fee or not to annual fee, that is the question
- Your current financial situation
There are tons of cards out there, and it can get overwhelming determining which card makes the most sense to be in your wallet. Below I have compared just a few options to show you what it is that I looked at when choosing which card would benefit me the most. It came down to Chase Sapphire and Delta, because I LOVE Delta, but in the long run it didn’t make sense to pigeon-hold myself to one airline when I’m a deal hunter.
I suggest setting aside at least 1-2 hours, writing out your financial goals, creating a budget, answering the above questions and comparing travel cards on sites like Nerd Wallet to determine what makes the most sense for you! No one else can decide that for you.
For myself, I have four credit cards (company AMEX, Chase Sapphire, PNC Points and TJX Mastercard) but only two get used. The chase card is my travel card, and I can not say enough good things about it!
If you’re interested in applying for the Chase Sapphire Card, use my link so we can both receive points: Chase Sapphire Card Application
After choosing the perfect card for you and your wallet, it’s time to SPEND. Okay not really, but really. In order to get points you have to earn them via spending. I suggest setting up routine bills to your travel card, i.e. light bill, cell phone, groceries, gym membership, etc. Things that you would have already been spending on, and paying the card in full either bi-weekly or once a month before the due date. As an added plus, you’ll be building your credit score. Also, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF INTRODUCTORY OFFERS, those earn 50k points by spending X amount by X day. Put all expenses on the card that you possibly can to get to these free points, but try to avoid spending extra just to get the points.
If you spend responsibly, your credit card can be your secret weapon in this travel game.
Essential Tips to Leave With:
• Rule of 3: Only pay for what you can afford, Never carry a balance, Make the card work for you (I.e., pay your routine bills and expenses to rack up points)
• Take advantage of introductory offers
• Have a reoccurring bill attached to the card to keep It active
• Follow @moneyhoneyco on IG for in-depth tips on credit and financial literacy
Do you use a travel card? What factors determine how you choose a card? Have any questions or want more information?