FAQ about how to get started

What is the first card I should apply for?

I usually recommend jumping in with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred usually has a bonus of 60,000 ultimate reward points with a $4,000 minimum spend in the first 3 months and the $95 annual fee that is not waived. Ultimate Reward points can be transferred to about a dozen airlines and a few hotel chains. You can also use the reward points to book hotels and flights through the Chase Ultimate Reward Travel portal. Flexible points are key since you never know which airline will offer award space. Other flexible points include Marriott Bonvoy and American Express. 

How do I know which credit card I want? 

The first thing I recommend is to figure out where you want to travel and then work backward. If you want to go to South America, you need to find out who flies there. Once you know that, you can find out if you can use Chase Ultimate Reward Points or Marriott Bonvoy Points to purchase the tickets. 

How do I apply?

If I have a link on this site, please follow that to apply for the card. If not, do a quick google search and you will follow the link. I usually snap a photo of the offer just in case I don't get the bonus. Most of the time, you will get an instant approval. But if you get a pending notice, just wait or you can call them to see if you are over extended on credit. Sometimes the rep can move the credit lines around and get you approved. 

Can my spouse apply too? 

Yes! And if you have a business even a home based business like selling stuff on Ebay, you can open a business card too.  Some programs will let you share points/miles between family members like Hilton. Do not sign your spouse or partner up as an authorized user because they don't get a bonus that way. 

I got the credit card, now what?

This is where you need to be organized. Verify the card and then put it on autopayment immediately. This is very important because if you carry a balance then you are wasting money paying interest. So you need to pay the card in full each month. If you don't have the discipline to do that, then this hobby may not be for you. 

How do I reach the minimum spend in 3 months?

I do not manufacture spend by buying gift cards etc. I just charge everything that I spend money on to the card that I am trying to reach the minimum spend. And when I say everything, I mean everything. Gas, grocery, Costco, online shopping, property taxes, restaurants etc. Once I reach the minimum, I put the card in a drawer and move on to the next one. That's my system, you may develop your own, but this works for me. There are a couple of core cards that I return to when I am not trying to reach a minimum spend and there are a couple of cards that offer a bonus if you use them for specific categories.