As part of our bonus mile credit card offer resources, here are 9 big things you should know about the impact of applying for bonus mile credit card offers on your credit score.
- Know your score before going in. You can check it for free at Credit Sesame and track it over time. This is not a free ‘trial’ where you may need to pay later or put your credit card on file. They are able to offer the score and report for free because they display special offers along side your report. You can also see our listing of the credit scores recently approved for popular mile credit cards.
- 3-6 new cards with bonus mile offers per year seems to work for some people we know with excellent credit. They maintain good spending levels and pay off their cards each month. But, your mileage may vary. Some people do more (3-4 per quarter), others prefer less. We don’t recommend applying for mile credit cards if you carry a balance – the interest payments offset the benefit. We also don’t recommend many new credit cards if you are about to apply for a mortgage or other large loan.
- Applying for cards generally reduces your score by less than 5-10 points per application. When you apply for a credit card, it generates an ‘inquiry’ with the credit bureau the bank uses. FICO says inquiries usually have a small impact, most less than 5 points. It can have a greater impact if you hold a small number of accounts, or don’t have much history in your credit report. If you apply for multiple cards on one day, it often counts as only one inquiry, so many people will apply for cards from 3-4 banks on one day (like a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card on the same day as a Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and a Barclaycard Arrival)
- Inquiries are on your report for 2 years, but most credit card companies only care about inquiries made within the last year. And the impact to your score can be as little as 6 months or less in some cases. But note that if applying for a mortgage, you want to maximize your score, so be prudent with credit card applications if you plan to purchase or refinance a home or auto loan in the near future.
- Credit card companies pay extra attention to applications you’ve made with them specifically. Chase tends to focus on applications made to it within the last 6 months, Citi the last 60-90 days, and prefers that you not apply for more than one or two of their cards during that period. However these are subject to variance and consideration. Some people have had success with more, some denied with less. If you tend to have big monthly spend on existing credit card accounts with the bank and auto-pay, they may look favorably on you opening new accounts.
- Closing accounts can have an adverse impact on your score. Why? Because it lowers the total amount of available credit line you have in your name. If you are thinking of cancelling a card due to an annual fee, consider asking the bank to switch you to a card with no fee and keeping the line of credit open. Or, ask them to increase the line on one of your other cards to offset the one you’re closing.
- Once you get a credit card point bonus for a particular card, you’re probably not eligible for one later. Citi can be an exception, generally allowing one if it’s been 18 months or more since you applied. But don’t count on it. If a bigger bonus comes along within 90 days of your initial application, you might have luck asking the company to honor the better deal. American Express may let you get a bonus for the same card twice if it’s been at least two years since you cancelled that card.
- If you are denied for a mile credit card, ask why. The major banks will often let you make a case for why you should hold the card. Make the case as to why you would like to use that particular card, or offer to have the credit line moved from one of your existing cards, and you may get approved after an initial denial.
- Be cautious about getting a card for the bonus, then never using it again – the credit card company may flag you as a ‘gamer’ and be less likely to approve you for new accounts with them in the future. Chase is known to be more stringent in this regard, though you probably have to be flagrant to get flagged. Many people get cards and decide not to use them frequently.
With all that in mind, have fun — bonus mile credit card offers can be a great way to get free vacations fast if you have good credit and are responsible with handling the cards. You can see our latest list of offers at MileCards.com’s bonus offer page.
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Miles dont expireas long as card is open
80,000 bonus points