You landed here at RewardExpert because you are curious about points and miles. But if you’re not using them yet, or you’re just wading in the kiddie pool collecting miles on a bunch of different airlines when you fly, maybe using the same airline reward credit card you’ve had for a decade I have to ask, what’s holding you back?
I ask a lot of people this question, and I am still surprised by what I hear.
The things that keep people from taking splashy vacations essentially for free using points and miles are usually things that aren’t true. Things they’re afraid of. But if they had a little more knowledge of how the miles game works, they’d see those things are nothing to fear at all.
Do you suffer from one of the three biggest fears of people who are missing out on their dream vacations?
1. Fear of Negatively Affecting Your Credit
We explore this question in our post on credit card applications, but here is the gist of what you need to know: sometimes getting a new credit card can make your credit go up.
This was my husband’s biggest fear before he got hooked on miles. He was shocked to find that after he applied for his first three or four cards, his credit went up not down.
This is because he had more credit available (one of the bigger factors in determining your credit score), even though he had several hard inquiries from applying for a few new cards (one of the smaller factors in determining your credit score).
2. Fear of Credit Dings for Too Many Card Applications
It makes complete sense to think,
I’m never going to be one of those people with a million miles. I can only get 50,000 miles max with one credit card application. I’d need to apply for 20 credit cards to rack up that many miles! No one would give me that many credit cards.”
However, banks and credit card companies actually WILL give you 20 credit cards! Not at once, of course, but they will.
The problem is that most people think that either having or applying for so many credit cards is not possible. And even when they hear that it is possible, they still suffer from fear numero uno: that having or applying for that many cards will negatively affect their credit.
I’ve already explored how having more credit cards can actually increase your credit score, but let’s look at the flip side for a second. How can it make your credit score go down?
In essence, it can’t. When you have more credit cards, you have more credit.
Its only when you apply for a lot of cards and don’t get them or apply for too many cards at once or in a short period of time (i.e., before the new credit becomes available on your credit report) that you’re going to start to feel the hurt, either on your credit score or generally on your credit report.
Stick with no more than five or six (three if you want to play it safe) card applications in a three-month period, and anytime you’re denied for a card, call the reconsideration line and see what you can do to reverse that card denial.
3. Fear of Not Meeting Minimum Spend on Cards
Have you ever seen a beautiful, shiny, huge, valuable credit card sign-up bonus and though. There is no way I could possibly spend enough money to get those points/miles.
Then, every time you look to apply for a reward credit card, what was once a 100,000-mile short-lived promotion seems to have now reverted to half of that or less, and you can’t justify reorganizing your spending to rack up $5,500 of purchases in three months for the smaller reward.
There are so many ways to meet the minimum spend on reward credit cards without even entering the realm of …manufactured spending (If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry, it’s a whole other ballgame of points travel).
But the best way is to just plan around it. Need to make a big purchase? Wait until a great reward credit card offer comes along. Have to make that purchase suddenly? Look for the best bonus offers, and use that initial purchase to make a big dent in your minimum spend. Even better, find a big bonus on a reward card that will help you achieve your travel goal.
With knowledge and planning, there’s nothing to be afraid of.