Before you get started applying for credit cards, always check your credit score. A good site is Credit Karma, which is free and gives you an overview of your credit. It’s VERY important that you are able to pay off all credit card debt each month, because if you aren’t, your miles/points are not worth it. And a last reminder, if you are applying for a mortgage within the next two years, I would not be applying for lots of credit cards. So here we go…
1. Airline Mileage Numbers: Get frequent flier numbers from the airlines, American, Delta, and United. US Airways has now merged with American, and there are other airlines, but those are the major ones in the US. If you find you want to apply for other credit cards later, like Alaska Airlines Visa, first get your Alaska number before applying. It won’t hurt if you don’t, but it does help keep it all straight. And you want your credited miles going to your account!
2. Hotel Membership Numbers: Get membership numbers from various hotels: Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG), Marriott, Hilton, Best Western, Hyatt, etc. Again, always get your numbers before you apply for any related credit card.
3. Spreadsheet: Set up a spreadsheet to remember membership numbers, log-ins, and passwords. Some people use Award Wallet for this, but I don’t. I’m just a little nervous about all my miles/points in one location. But lots of people use it successfully.
4. Goal: Do you want to travel to Europe for a family of four? Do you want a romantic weekend getaway? Different people will have different goals. A family with small children probably won’t want a trip to India! So think about what you want to accomplish with your miles and points, then apply for cards accordingly. I would start slow, only applying for cards that meet your needs and you feel comfortable paying off in full every month.