Even though applying for many credit cards won’t ruin your credit score, you should treat credit card inquires as sacred. Have you ever been at a store and a cashier is like, you can save 20 percent right now if you get our store card! No, no, no, bad idea. Do not get that card. In fact, do not get any store credit card. If you “waste” credit card inquires on small potato discounts, it can hurt your ability to be approved for cards with big signup bonuses and that is the name of the game. My rule: I won’t apply for any card that doesn’t offer at least a $500 signup bonus, whether that is in cash or travel equivalent.
So let’s say your credit score is great and you have the ability to hit several minimum spend requirements over a period of a few months. These are the four cards I would recommend applying for right now. You can apply for all four on the same day if you’d like. In general, you aren’t going to be approved for more than 1 card from the same bank on the same day, and probably not within the same month or two. But by applying for cards from different banks, it’s very possible be approved for 4 cards all within minutes of each other.
- Citi Thank You Premier – This card gives you 50,000 Thank You points if you spend $4,000 within the first three months. Those points are worth $625 in travel when you book directly through Citi or $500 in gift cards. $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.
- Capital One Venture Card – Spend $3,000 in three months and get 75,000 points. You can redeem these points for $750 in statement credits toward travel purchases. $95 annual free waived first year.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – Spend $4,000 in three months and get 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. These are good for $500 straight cash back (not recommended because we want max value damn it!), $625 worth of travel booked through Chase or $1,000 or so if you transfer the points to frequent flyer/hotel programs. The best ones are Hyatt, Southwest and British Airways (you can book American flights on the BA site). $95 annual fee waived first year.
- Barclay Arrival – Spend $5,000 in three months and get 70,000 points worth $700 in statement credit toward travel purchases. $89 annual fee waived first year.
Now that is some hefty spending you would need to pull off all four bonuses at once, $16,000 in three months. But if you can, you could net over $2,700 for very little work. Of course, you could apply for one card every three months and get the same amount of points, but what I’m trying to demonstrate here is there is a lot of money/free travel that can be made here for quite minimal effort.