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Credit scores needed for the best mile credit cards (fresh data)

by on Tue August 2, 2016 • 146 Comments

Credit Scores - Credit Karma

Free travel from credit cards and the best offers aren’t just for people with perfect credit.

In fact, fresh numbers from July 2016 and October 2015 from show that many lucrative rewards cards don’t require a perfect credit score.

The data is below, and shows how the most popular mile and travel credit cards compare on credit scores of actual card holders who are registered with CreditKarma. It contains these pieces of information for each card:

  • ‘Average’ – This is the average score among those approved for the card via
  • ‘Typical Low’ – This is the 5th percentile (lowest 5%) of VantageScore 3.0 scores provided by TransUnion of CreditKarma members approved for the product


AverageTypical Low
American Express
Amex EveryDay Credit Card676630
Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card709674
American Express¨ Premier Rewards Gold Card729658
Gold Delta SkyMiles¨ Credit Card from American Express675624
Starwood Preferred Guest¨ Credit Card from American Express743657
The Platinum Card¨ from American Express716643
Bank of America
BankAmericard Travel Rewards750687
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World MasterCard736684
Barclaycard Arrival710670
British Airways Visa Signature¨ Card747727
Chase Freedom¨683633
Chase Sapphire Preferred¨ Card736646
Marriott Rewards Premier721638
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier670607
United MileagePlus Explorer Card714633
Capital One / Citi
Capital One¨ VentureSM Rewards Credit Card738664
Citi Double Cash Card729653
Citi ThankYou¨ Preferred Rewards Card740673
Citi ThankYou Premier796745
Citi¨ Platinum Select¨ / AAdvantage¨ Visa Signature Card716633
Discover Miles733601

What’s surprising about this data isn’t the average score. It’s high, just above 700, which represents Good to Excellent credit. We expected that since these cards are targeted to the banks’ best customers, and people who travel a lot tend to be a bit more well off than average. Just note that this data is *only* for the population of people who use and may be different than your result with a similar credit score. Many factors go into a credit card decision beyond your credit score from one source.

But what stands out is at the lower end of things.

You don’t need a 700+ credit score to qualify for the best mile credit cards, with some like the Chase Sapphire Preferred offering wider acceptance than just perfect scores as issuers try to make rewards more accessible. In fact, scores well below 700 have been approved for many cards. There are lots constantly changing factors that go into qualification beyond your score, like your income and relationship with a bank, so don’t use the numbers above as a sure signal you’ll get approved.  But it’s clear not everyone approved for a mile credit card has a perfect credit history.

So what if you’re just getting started?

If your credit score is below 700 and you’re looking to get into the miles and points game with credit cards, keep a few things in mind.

Make sure you can pay off your mile credit card in full each month – the miles aren’t worth the interest charges that will hit you if you don’t.

Consider checking pre-screened offers. For example, CardMatch from will present offers based on a review of your credit profile, with a soft pull of your credit, which can help you narrow down your choices to cards that are actively trying to target you. Seeing a card there is no guarantee of approval, but it can help you narrow your choices.

Consider an airline branded credit card. It’s not clear why, but the cards of the major airlines, including American, Delta, Southwest, and United tend to have some of the lowest typical scores approved, including typical low scores around 600. That means if you have just Good or Fair credit you might have a better shot at getting approved for one of those instead of a card that isn’t affiliated with an airline.

Watch your credit report. Credit card issuers can pull any of the 3 major credit bureaus, and often switch things up regularly, though reports on show the most reports from these bureaus for each issuer:

  • Amex: Experian
  • Bank of America: Experian
  • Barclaycard: TransUnion
  • Capital One: Tends to pull all 3 at once
  • Chase: Experian
  • Citi: Experian

Other than that, you shouldn’t be afraid of rejection. If you have the income to pay your credit card bill off each month, and a solid recent credit history, you could be eligible to start racking up bigger rewards.

The following two tabs change content below.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95

Annual Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes - transfer to United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and more

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

Still confused? Have a question?

Leave a comment below -- we'll reply shortly -- no need to use your real name. Or, use the email form at the top of the page for private advice.

"These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered."

146 thoughts on Credit scores needed for the best mile credit cards (fresh data)

  1. Scott Friend

    I just applied for the following cards and approved for all 3. My credit scores are all 705-715 (FICO8)

    Bank Of America’s Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard pulled TransUnion and Experian. Approved for only $1000. And I got the 7-10 response, but approved after they pulled TransUnion report 2 days later.

    Amex Everyday Preferred- Pulled Experian. Approved for $6000, approved instantly.

    Chase’s United Milage Plus pulled Equifax and Experian. Approved for $6200. Was denied at first because of a frozen Equifax report. Called the reconsideration line where they pulled both Equifax and Experian and approved on the phone.

    Credit Use is less than 10% and average age is only 3 years. So it is possible to get reward cards with only good credit. I also have one collection account listed that is 6 years old.

  2. Wheeler

    Thank y’all so much for offering so much information! My wife is a veteran. We have really done a few doozies on both our credit reports. We have been trying to raised our scores to 750 and above plus excellent her score is 550, while mine is still in the high 500’s. I also have a judgement against me for a credit card. The judgement doesn’t show up on my credit report anymore; I assume because it’s 7 years old. I know it didn’t just “go away”. All effort to increased and eliminate all negative item on my report was proven abortive until I saw many remarks of how this credit coach had helped them “cyberhack005 at gmail dotcom”. He did a tremendous job by helping me increased my score and remove all negative item on my credit report just few days after we fixed agreement. Thanks am highly indebted

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  5. Lili

    I recently received Chase Sapphire Preferred. I’m confused about transferring using UR points for Hyatt. I read I had to joint Hyatt Loyalty (Gold Somethint).

    It seems like Hyatt’s Gold (Passport) is tied to tiers and elite status (not doable for me, just now). Is that correct?

    Do I need elite status with Hyatt AND Chase UR points to book free nights at Hyatt?

    Thank you (in advance) for answering my question if you chose. 🙂 I have scoured online for answers but no luck.

    1. Sarah

      It’s a 1:1 transfer. So if your earned your bonus based on intro spend (50k Pst with $3k spend w/in 3 months or whatever) you can can transfer those points to your hyatt acct – then use points for free nights at Hyatt.

      Nights can range from 5k-27k for hyatt, depending on hotel tier.

      No, you don’t have to have elite status to use the points.

  6. Michelle Gloria

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  7. Mark

    I have been rebuilding my credit for the last 2 years. I have an auto loan and a credit card with a credit limit of $6k from my bank which is a credit union. Sept will be 2 years of on time payments. But I first opened the credit cards as a secured card with a 1k limit. I was able to upgrade to my current card May 2016 and the secured card was closed.
    My current Fico 8 scores are:
    Equifax 748
    Transunion 711
    Experian 726

    I also purchased other fico scores that range from 725-780 from myfico.
    I have 2 negative accounts with missed payments that were paid in full in 2012.
    I would like to apply for a Southwest Rapid Reward airline credit card. I am nervous about applying wondering if my 2 yrs of rebuilding would be enough to get approved. Your thoughts?
    Thank you


      @Mark – Congrats on getting your scores up. As for the Southwest card specifically – it’s hard to say. One thing to check is to see if you’re pre-qualified for other Chase cards using this form.

      They typically don’t put the airline cards in that tool, but at least it gives you a sense of whether there are Chase products in general you might qualify for.

      1. Mark

        Update, I applied for the Southwest airline card and was approved for $8500 CL with a 750 FICO score. My advice is if your rebuilding your credit, wait at least 24 months b before you apply for new credit. . Anything negative you have may fall off or is more than 3 yrs old. Don’t give up. Good luck

  8. Chang

    I am student,my credit score is 0 and I want to get credit card to build up my credit . I have 3 questions ( I know it’s too much sorry)
    1- Can I apply for Miles and more ( lufthansa) barclayscard with 0 score, since it’s not a popular CC? I have frequent flyer account with the airline too
    2- I have been looking into student credit cards and saw citi thank you proffered college student card , what are my chance to get that card with 0 credit but being a student?
    Last but not least
    3- can I apply to as many credit card as i can to get finally accepted by a bank or it has negative effect on my history and my 0 credit score??!!



      @Chang – With no credit history, you wouldn’t be able to get the popular airline cards yet. One option if you want rewards is to try a Discover student card. They have a decent program to build your credit history and earn rewards while you do it.

      Would avoid applying for a lot of cards right now – wait until you get your score above 700 to dip into the travel card game, though that might not take very long if you just use your student card for a small purchase each month, and pay it off right away.

    2. Sarah

      Or… * IF* you have parents/family/friends with good/great credit, who will add you as an AU (they don’t even have to give you a card if they don’t want to run the risk of you charging) you can build a score that way.

      I have a 20yo son who’s an AU – he’s got a score of 727. When he’s ready, he can apply on his own with greater approval odds other than secured and/or high fee/low limit cards.

      It’s just an additional option, if it’s available to you. Learning fiscal responsibility is vital! Congrats 🙂

  9. Jennifer

    My credit score is 730. I applied for a United card a couple weeks ago and got declined. I have only had one credit card since Oct 2016. Would that be the issue? How long should I wait to reapply? I have never had an issue with making payments.


      @jennifer – Sorry to hear about that. If the card you got in October was your very first credit card, then sounds like your history might be short. Not hard and fast rule on when to try again, but keep your score good like it is and you’ll give yourself a good shot.

      Also assume you are not using your current card up to its limit – you want to keep your use of the card low so you don’t look like you are using up all the credit line on your current card.

  10. Reg

    My score is in the 630s. What credit limit do u think I would qualify for with a Chase Freedom or Delta Gold? Or any others u might be aware of.

  11. Ryan


    I really want to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred. I have about 18,000 in student loans, and have never missed a payment. I currently have two credit cards; capital one quicksilver (over a year) and capital one venture one (in the last month) with a total line of credit of 12,000 and also have never missed a payment. I work as a teacher, but I do extensive traveling throughout the year and the venture one is obviously doesn’t provide the kind of travel rewards I am looking for. I am right at 700 for my credit and I want to know what I can do to get better qualified for the card. I applied for it at 690 on a wisp and got denied.

    Any suggestions or steps I can take (besides the traditional of paying my balance in full each month).

    Thank you in advance!


      @ryan – One way that might help your utilization is to pay your cards more than once a month. Even if you pay your cards in full by the due date, if there’s a balance when the reporting to the bureau is generated, it gets reported to the bureau as your ‘balance.’ If you pay aggressively throughout the month as you go along, you’ll have a smaller or zero balance when the credit reporting sweep happens.

      Also consider going to a Chase branch to see if you’re pre-qualified.

    2. Elliot

      YES, call Chase and request a reconsideration. I recently applied for this card and was rejected. I have 6 missed mortgage payments still showing from just over 3 years ago. This included 2 months of over 120 days late. I also have a 30 day late on a credit card from about 5 months ago and a released tax lien on my record. On top of that I have 2 hard inquiries in this last month alone. I called and asked for a reconsideration. I began by explaining why I had applied for so much credit in this last month. I explained that I want to buy another house in a year or two and need to start building positive payment history in 3 more credit cards as soon as possible. He agreed to hear my reconsideration and began reviewing my case apparently I had satisfactory enough answers because he approved my request and sent me my Chase Saphire Preferred card. He even asked me about a bunch of delinquencies on a real old closed account that I didn’t think even showed up on my report anymore, my answer was… “I don’t remember that was along time ago” and apparently that was an OK answer. My Vantage 3.0 score was 719 at the time but as you can see it included some serious dings on my credit history but apparently he was satisfied with my explanation of each item because he reversed the rejection and sent me my new Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

  12. SuzC

    Do you have any data on how to qualify for a Barclays US Airways Premier World Mastercard? I don’t want to apply if my scores are not high enough. Mid-to-high 600’s. Any suggestions on which cards I should apply for? No lates, no other negatives. Thanks for your recommendations.


      @SuzC – That card doesn’t exist, but has been replaced by the Aviator Red card for American Airlines.

      Barclaycard used to have a pre qualification page where you could check and get a sense ahead of time, but that’s been pulled for now.

      You might want to check Card Match, which shows you pre-qualified offers from several issuers: but again be very selective about what you apply for – one at a time. There should be no rush here as you build your score.

  13. SuzC

    A lot of things have come off of my credit reports, so I am only currently showing approximately 24 months of good solid credit. My scores are mid-to-high 600’s. I read somewhere that Capital One will allow up to 2 cards for personal use and 2 cars for business. Do you know if I would qualify for more than one Chase card (since they offer so many) or if I should only apply for one at a time? I want to swap out a few low-limit cards for higher limits, and eventually close the lower limit card accounts. How many do you think I could apply for at first?


      @SuzC – Chase will let you hold more than one of its cards. But best to start with just one with your score range, and season it with some good payment history.

      Also note Chase doesn’t tend to approve if you’e opened 5 or more cards from any bank in the last 24 months, so beware of that before you open more accounts.

  14. Edgar

    Hi, I’m interested in the Southwest rewards credit card and I fly at least 4 times a year but I’m only an authorized user on one card and I have a 5 month old unsecured capital one card with a $500 limit. Credit score of 690 and 16 months of credit history. Would I have a chance for the Southwest card?

  15. Dan

    645 average score across all 3, all with low credit lines, and opened in 1-2 years.
    2 total missed payments about 10 mo/16mo ago, I pay 100% of balances every month now.
    Considering opening up a couple more cards so On Time Payment Percentage and utilization will improve faster. If I open up two more cards, I’ll have 98%+ On time in 6mo, and obviously lower utilization. I don’t use them much to begin with.
    Should I be concerned about too many new cards with low balances? Trying to get above 700/720 and look at purchasing a home within 9-12 mo. I was considering opening a $2-3k secured Cr Card to aid in utilization, but didn’t know if that was worth it. That would also cut into time to set aside down-payment for home.
    Thoughts? Thank you!


      @Dan – Would probably hold off a bit – maybe wait until the missed payments are at least a year out. But best to check the pre-qualification pages to see what pops up there. That’s at least an indication straight from each bank.

  16. KB

    I have been repairing my credit for some time now. I currently have a 692 Equifax, 661 Experian and a 658 Transunion. I recently just paid all of my other credit cards other than my Home Depot(Citibank) Card. I’d really like to apply for a JetBlue Plus card but have been told by Barclays that this will ding my score negatively if I get declined and would have to wait between 2-4 months before being considered again. Is there a way to test to see if I’d get approved and does the Chase pre-qualified offers tool hurt or ding your credit if you try it out?

  17. Sue


    My husband travels a lot for work. He would really like an Alaska rewards card or a Marriott rewards card. We have a BK on our record that was discharged over 4 years ago and ever since have done everything that was required to build our credit again. We are now in the 700’s and were wondering if its worth a ding on our credit report to try again for one of these cards. When are score was in the 600’s it was denied, He even called the reconsideration line (this was for the Marriott rewards card) and they said flat out the BK was flagged and he was denied based on that. Just wondering, he would really like to try again but doesn’t want another rejection. He flies Alaska all the time and also stays at Marriott’s whenever he travels. We only have one other credit card at this time, a car loan and thankfully were able to buy a house last year, so we have a mortgage, all of which helps with the credit score. We pay all these on time every month.


      @Sue – It’s hard to say – for some banks a BK is a hard stop no matter what the score. And it’s not known which have a hard stop / how long after the BK that policy applies.

      One thing you can try is to see if he’s pre-qualified from either of them here:

      You might not see the exact Marriott or Alaska card, but if you see at least one offer that’s not a secured card, it’s a helpful piece of info.

  18. John


    I’m interested in the CSP but have a short credit history ( about 9 months). I opened a Capital one secure card to build credit and currently have a 702 credit score with only a 650 CL. I was approved for an AMEX green card 3 months ago. All my payments are on time and paid in full. I’m looking to update the secured card, is it worth it to apply for the CSP or look into other unsecured cards due to my short credit history?


      @John – Given the AMEX approval and if you have good income, that score is decent. Chase has been known to prefer applicants who have fewer than 5 new bank card accounts in the last 2 years. You’re at 2 right now. Your next one would be your 3rd. Have you checked on the Chase site to see if you’re pre-qualified? That might be a helpful indicator.

      1. John

        Thanks for getting back. I did the per-qualifition on the chase website but didn’t get any offers. I’m wondering if the low CL plays a large role for a rewards card like the CSP?

  19. Paul

    Hi, I have Equifax 715 ,fico 741 (from amex blue cash)
    I have 5 cards
    1 quicksilver 4k
    1 bluecash 4k
    1 chase freedom 2.2k
    2 secured cards ,1 capital one 1k ,and one primorcc $ 500
    I have little less than 2 years of credit and a income of upper 50k
    I want to dump those secured cc’s and get a venture travel card.
    what’s your advice to get there?


      @Paul – Given you already have a Quicksilver, Blue Cash, and Freedom you’re well out of secured card territory.

      If you’re not carrying balances on any, may be worth a shot at the Venture, especially given your good history with Capital One. Did you check their site to see if you’re pre-qualified?

  20. Andy

    Hello, my Transunion and Equifax is 732. I should be good to go to apply for a Chase Saphire Preferred, right? I’ve checked the pre-approval tool that chase has, I don’t qualify for pre-approval so I’m a little nervous.


      @Andy – It’s a healthy score. One thing to be careful of is too many recent account openings. No public, official rules, but generally be careful if you’ve opened more than 4 or 5 credit card accounts in the last 2 years.

    2. Elliott

      Hi there, my Fico score is 754, and I’m wondering what would be the best strategy to getting towards the CSP card. I’m pretty young and just started building credit last year with the Amex Blue Cash Everday. That has a cl of 1000 and I have not asked for an increase.

      Ideally, I want a card that offers better rewards for dining and shopping so I can use them towards travel. I have my eye on CSP but wanted to know what would be best considering my credit is pretty fresh – and I don’t’ want to waste the credit pull on rejection. ( I am pre-qualified for the CSP and have received multiple invitations for Amex Platinum – but have no interest in platinum currently. Also, yearly income is around 50,000, and I don’t have any debt – in case this information helps.)


        @Elliott – If you are pre-qualified for the CSP that’s certainly a good sign. About as good an indicator as you can get without an actual application. Having no balance on your other card is also a good thing.

  21. Don

    I have a CR of Equifax:670 Experian: 733 and T.U:576

    Trying to figure out if it’s worth while to apply for a Southwest card or wait until my TU score increases, thoughts?


      @Don – Hard to say. Some issuers will take the lowest of the scores they pull – and hard to say whether they will pull one, two, or all three.

      Perhaps see if you are pre-qualified for another product from the issuer.

      If that’s the case, then that’s at least one signal to consider.

  22. Wave4225

    Income under 16k, scores in 650 to 670 range, low balances on basic rebuilding cards, got approved Delta Gold for 2k, my first real card to me. Pay on time, keep balances low, it does work in 15 months

  23. DTel

    My credit new. Three months old capitalOne credit card with CL 300. My TU score 637. Received an invite for UA Explorer card but declined. Already have three queries. Should I wait longer before applying for another card? without higher CL hard to build my score. What travel card would you recommend?

    thank you.


      @DTel – Would take it easy – see if you can get up toward 700 with a good history on what you have now.

      1. Dtel

        It has been over 5months since my last post and my current Ex Fico score risen up to 728. Cap one upgraded my plat card to quick silver with 500CL, Kohls card with 300CL.
        I stopped at my chase branch where I bank. My pay direct deposited at this branch. Income $100,800/y. Banker ran Pre-qual for a Chase credit card no offer. She suggested I should still apply for Chase reserve but I walked away. I don’t want another HP given already 6HP from EXP.
        Received a Pre-Screened Discover it cash match but I want one good travel card from chase. It appears Chase not showing any leniency towards their own loyal customer. Any thoughts ….


          @Detel – Sorry to hear that but give it time. Those are low limits you have now, so get the limits on your other cards up further. And remember Chase doesn’t tend to like it if 5 or more credit cards are opened in less than 2 years time.

  24. Carlos

    Yes i have a 773 trans unions equifax 800 have a bnk of america 13k line , southwest 25k line and a discover miles 10.5k. Am looking forward to apply in the future to a Amex what would be the odds for me of receiving a credit line at least of 17k or better i like the gold sky miles and the blue cash rewards? Please give me your thoughts about .


      @Carlos – Hard to say. After you open an account, Amex does let you submit prior tax information and other information to support your income and assets if you want a special look at your credit line.

  25. Adam

    Credit scores are headed up. Want to apply for the Amex Gold Rewards card.

    Experian FICO8 — 760
    CreditKarma — 704
    Transunion Vantage 3.0 — 704 (may be same as creditkarma)

    Am I too early? Should I hold off? Income $350-450k

      1. Adam

        Not sure what you mean by “targeted.” Did not receive a mailer, if that’s what you mean? I am seeing a 50,000 point offer when I go to their Application site however. When I refresh it goes to 25,000, then back to 50,000. Strange?

        I did receive a mailer for the Business Gold card with 80,000 sign up points, but that LLC has no real operating credit so if they pull business credit I just don’t think it’s going to fly, and I would have to go personal anyway. I think that they just mail everyone with an LLC or Corp one of these mailers, but I could be wrong. Correct me if I’m wrong about the Business card route.


          @Adam – For business they primarily use your personal credit profile, since the card is guaranteed by you, not the business.

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  29. Thomas

    TU score of 675 and equifax 693 I really want to apply for the chase southwest card… Do u think my approval odds would be good with those scores..

  30. shawn

    Hey there question looking for a airline card either citigold or southwest I had a bk 2 Years ago but credit tu 667 eq 665 experian 658 awesome credit approved for house 6 credit cards discover it card Barclay Frontier (dosent fly out of where I live) Barclay rewards capital one platinum and a Capital one quicksilver target and Walmart all paid at a 22% utilization all paid off monthly what do u think worried that I wouldn’t get but how much I spend I need one of those airline cards


      @shawn – Hard to say which banks have a hard deny for having a recent bankruptcy. Maybe want to take it easy on new applications – some banks don’t like to see more than 5 accounts in 2 years. Once you’ve cleared that and are closer to 700 could get interesting.

      1. shawn

        OK sounds good was was hoping to maybe get a mile card on what I’m spending I’m making roughly 25-40 back on cap one


          @shawn – Around your one year anniversary for your Capital One see if they can upgrade you to the Venture Rewards, which will get you 2x on everything.

  31. Adam

    Trying to get into the miles game as I’ve been working on my credit. Current score is ~665 FICO. Fair at best. Just got upgraded to the Venture One card from the entry level Platinum card (1.25x miles, no bonus — this is not the same as the Venture card with 2x miles).

    So, I have two crappy credit cards with $5500 limit each (just had them increased from $2000 and $3500). Income will be $315,000 this year. My business air and hotel reimbursed expenses from the company are running about $2000 per month. I am also now paying mortgage on Plastiq (~$3500/month). In other words, probably about $6000/month before I even add personal expenses, so I believe I am leaving a ton of miles on the table.

    Question 1: Trying to keep utilization below 20% moving forward, in your rough estimation, where would my score be in 3-4 months?

    Question: 2: Given where I am today, should I apply for another mediocre card or wait until I have XXXX score to apply for a really good miles card, and what would that score be to get a card that fits the bill

    Goals are business class to Europe, any airline.


      @Adam – Given you just got the credit line increase – give it a couple months to see where that better utilization shakes out. If you end up in the 700 range then, give it a go. Try to get your card paid off before the statement is generated if you really want to keep the utilization low.

      Also another idea is to see if you’ve been pre-screened for any offers.

      For example is one place to check.

      If you see some good ones there, then might be worth a shot sooner.

      1. Adam

        Ok, great. If I’m at 700, what card would you recommend for business class to Europe, if that’s my goal?


          @Adam – Amex points to Delta (or Delta SkyMiles on their own) seem the most reliable these days for getting to Europe in Biz for 62.5k one way thanks to the partnership with Virgin Atlantic (basically not tough to get to LHR from a Virgin gateway). That said…

          Chase seems most sensitive to the total number of card applications you’ve done.

          So the optimal strategy tends to be to go for the flagship Chase card first – Sapphire with 50K. You could use those to fly United / partners for 57.5k – 70k one way – but again seems less reliable on the availability front than Delta.

          Then after that consider Amex cards. Keep an eye out for deals like 100k for The Platinum Card, or 50k or higher for a Delta card.

          That way you can consider using Chase points one direction of the trip, and Amex / Delta the other direction.

          Then you can decide which program and card benefits fit your lifestyle best.

          1. Adam

            Newbie question… What good are Korean Air Skypass Skymiles? I have 58,000.

            I am just learning that they transfer to Delta and a few others? Korean Air’s portal is so unbelievably terrible, you wouldn’t find this even if you looked.


            @Adam – They’re pretty darn good. 25k of them will get you to Hawaii on Delta if there’s space.


            30k will get you there on Hawaiian Airlines or Alaska Airlines.



            For Asia, they’re great for business class too.


            You just have to call in to book a lot of stuff, but their phone agents are pretty good at 1-800 438 5000…and those Chase points can be converted into Korean miles.

          3. Adam

            Just received a targeted Amex Gold BUSINESS card mailer with 80,000 bonus.

            Is there any negative over going business card vs personal?

            How difficult are these to get approved for relative to a personal card?

            Will be at 720 fico in about one month.


            @Adam – Always tough to call on approvals, but once you are at 720 you are in a good range. The biz cards aren’t necessarily tougher approvals. Charge cards in general feel a bit easier than revolving credit cards. 80k is a good deal if you cqn comfortably meet the spending requirement.

      2. Adam

        Hi – So my score shot up a ton after having some collections removed. I just checked CardMatch (per your recommendation) and it’s showing both Chase Sapphire Preferred and AMEX PRG. If this site shows these, does this usually mean I’ll get approved or what is your experience with approval %??

        Kind of excited now, thanks!

    2. Mike


      I would go ahead now with the Amex PRG. With your income and score that should not be an issue. I was just approved last month with a lower score and income. Since it is a charge card, approvals are much easier to come by. This will get you Membership Rewards which you can convert to Delta Skymiles. Use this until your scores go up a little more and then go for the CSP.

      1. Adam

        Great intel. Thanks Mike! I think I will go for this first, then go for the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

        I just had a targeted AMEX Gold Business card mailer sent to me with 80,000 miles. Should I go for this as opposed to personal. (Just asked the same question to in this thread as well, fyi). Would like to hear your input.

  32. Jessica

    Just applied for a SWA Chase card with a verified TU score of 717, 0 balances on all current cards, and was DENIED! Feeling a bit irritated to be honest!

  33. Wilfredo

    Hi, I thought to leave my feedback about my application for the Arrival Barclay. This will be good so you can update your date and hopefully help people like me struggling to get back to life with good credit. I applied for this card about two weeks ago. At that time my CK TU score was 618. I have a couple of store cards with wells fargo secured card, first premier and a Barclay rewards. My wells fargo I had for 3 year and the other cards just over 6 months. I have one repo from 2011 and my util was at 64% with 10 inc in the past 9 months. Obviously I was denied but only fot the high util. The same day I applied I had made payment in full to my wells Fargo but not showing on my teport yet. I had made payment to my other cards too but he couldn’t verify it. I waited until today and decided to call recon again. Let me tell you that before I call recon I looked at my CK score and it showed 577 on my TU…. yes 577!!!! This is going down as a record!!! Lol I talk to same person that helped me two weeks ago and he ask ifhe could pull my report again. I explained why I was denied but that I had made some payment to show I lower my utility. He said he couldn’t see my payment in full to my wells fargo but that my utility had gone down anyway. He put me on hold and we he came back approved me!!!!! Yesssss I was approved with a 577 score!!!!! I have a low CL but I think what help me was when I first started the call I told him that I wanted to enjoy that card benefits while probing myseft as a valued customer. He replied (that is great! Great is that I got approved with low score!!!

  34. Wilfredo


    Great page! Though I should leave my feedback. I applied to the Southwest card from Chase. My score was CK eq 608 and from another site Exp 650, with one medical collection from 2014, one unpaid repo from 2011 and one paid judgment from 2014. I have over 50% unt on my cards which are Wells Fargo secured for 3 years never missed a payment, Barclay for 6 months and a couple of stores cards. I was denied for high balance. I will call recon again because wells Fargo card not showing yet I paid in full last month, that will bring my utilization under 50% and hopefully I can get approved. I live in FL and chase pulled both Exp and Eqx. If I don’t get recon will wait 3 months and try again. Any thoughts and or advice anyone?

  35. Mowgli

    I am interested in the Propel 365 card from Wells Fargo. My company pays for my flights, but I pay for hotels and expenses up front before reimbursement. I like the restaurant and gas rewards. I am a current Wells checking, savings and Visa customer. I started in 2012 with a secured Visa, graduated in 2013 to unsecured. My income has improved recently to over $100K and My FICO is now an average of 706 on all three bureaus. What are people finding as an average approval credit score? What would maybe be a better option for my credit and employment situation? I also have direct deposit, so WF can see all my deposits. All cards recently down to 4% utilization. Will I be approved for a 365 Propel? Or what do you recommend? I have an old collection coming off in March 2016, so that should help my score a bit also.

  36. Matt N


    I relocated to the US in January 2015. I got a secured Credit card to the value of $300 from my back (WF) when i arrived (this has just changed to an unsecured card in the past month) and leased a car for 2 years to the value of $14,000. I now have 10 months of credit history (albeit limited) and I travel a lot for work. I am interested in the United MileagePlus Explorer Card, but i am concerned about being rejected. Any advice on how much credit history I will need to increase my chances?


        1. Adam

          Hi Matt,

          Have you any update on this? I’m in a really similar situation, I’m wondering if you did apply for the card eventually? What was your credit score when you did?


  37. Johnny

    I have a ~740 score and a 9 months AMEX SPG with no credit history before that of my own, just as an authorized user .Chase dinged me twice (for the Freedom and the Sapphire) because of a “Too short credit history” on July and November. I tried calling, explaining, reconsidering – nothing helped. I have the score and the income but they want talk to me.
    How long should I wait before applying again to a Chase card?


      @Johnny – Hard to say. Maybe after your first anniversary of the SPG. Good news is that’s a really valuable card and your spending is earning you some very good points.

  38. Mar

    I have a fair to good credit score (at least above 650). I don’t know the real one and only basing the # off the free estimations from sites like CreditKarma, Credit Sesame, etc. However, I have late payments from from over 3 years ago that I think are still dinging me. I’ve tried writing “good faith” request letters with no success so far.

    Is there any chance for getting new credit at this point until type passes, and any suggestions on cards for this circumstance?

    I only have a mortgage, second mortgage and small amount of student loans. I do have a secured credit card that when used, is paid off monthly; plus am an authorized user on a family members credit card because that is all I’ve been able to get.

    Any help would be appreciated!


      @Mar – Impossible to tell ahead of time, but it doesn’t sound like a zero chance.

      What type of points are you most interested in?

  39. Jose F

    After reading the posts here I decided to take the plunge with a Citi AAdvantage Gold MasterCard, I did not have high hopes since I am in the process of paying some small balances in other credit cards and my credit scores are low to mid 600′.
    To my surprise I was approved for a $3k limit which just fine for now.
    Citi pulled from Equifax with a score of 621

  40. Bill Chastain

    A little off topic for miles cards, but a heads up on how credit scores can be intentionally skewed. My CreitKarma Numbers – TU = 702 EF = 736 as shown on Credit Karma (which is correct based on credit load, payment history, income, and credit profile.

    Recently approved for a zero down car loan. Oddly enough my credit score from Equifax shown on the car credit ap was 648, not 736. My wife, who has no individual credit was shown as 704. I can understand a 10 – 15 point credit score drop based on car loan practices , but a 98 point drop seems almost punitive. Any ideas?


      @Bill – That is a big difference, and enough to perhaps check your underlying report at (the gov’t uses this site to get a free, full report from each bureau once a year). Other factors….the CK scores are not real FICO scores, just estimates. What you got from the lender is a real FICO score. There are also different scores for auto lending than general credit, which factor more auto specific inputs. Though a 100 point difference sounds odd.

      1. Kaylene Bourne

        Ditto. Exactly what I was going to say. Do not go by what credit karma says. They use a Vantage 3.0 model. Go to and get your Fico 08 scores from TU, Eq, exp, plus reports for a 7 day $1trial. It’s the score credit card companies use

    2. Bill Chastain

      Pulled Equifax – Nothing unusual on my credit report – no late payments, write-offs, bankruptcies, etc. – except they seem to have dinged me for not having a “mortgage” loan or “revolving” dept store account. My Credit Karma scores are now 732 and 737. I want to get a “miles” card (Alaska/Bank of America?), but I am concerned about Equifax reporting and getting a rejection without getting the card. Your thoughts?


        @Bill – Auto specific scores tend to put more weight on a history of installment loan (mortgage, student loan, auto) type debt, so your lack there might be weighting that down. If you want to see a sample Experian score check out

  41. Nicole

    I made a wreck of my credit while I was young. Currently my credit cards are around 50% of maximum I’m working on bringing this down as quickly as I can.

    It feels like it’s been years since I’ve seriously defaulted on a card. Where do I go to see what is still showing up and how do I get something removed if it’s old? I have an old court judgement from 2009 still showing up. I want to bring my score up and clean up my history if I can!

    Thanks for any advice


      @Nicole – You can go to to get the free, official report from each of the 3 credit bureaus. That’s the only site authorized by Federal law to provide your free, complete report.

    2. Annabelle

      Follow’s suggestion of the free credit report. I space mine out (get 1 from 1 reporting agency every 4 months) to monitor it so I never pay for a credit report.

      The credit reporting agencies report your history for the past 10 years, whether the account is open or closed. Once the last activity on any account is past 10 years, it should fall off your credit report. If you find any INACCURATE information on your credit report, contact the 3 agencies to make sure it gets corrected.

      Best way to rebuild your credit is to pay off the balances (see below for tips) and pay consistently – Every. Single. Month. On every single account. You will find yourself in good credit graces again within 2 years tops, with good credit scores. That’s for the credit report part. Disregard the following if you already know it.

      Tips for paying off balances:
      If you’re juggling multiple card balances, some recommend paying off the smaller balances first, others recommend highest interest rate. It really depends on your situation. But after paying off 1 balance, take that monthly payment and add it to your monthly payment for the next balance. This will cut down the stress and time required to pay off all the balances. If you have $200 to split among 4 cards, don’t split it evenly – pay the most that you can towards the 1st balance to get rid of first but pay more than the min. required for each balance.

      For the credit managing part:
      Except for a dire emergency, get into the mindset that paying with your credit card IS like paying cash. That money is already spent even if it’s still sitting in your bank account for another 25 days.

      Good luck!

      1. Donna

        All that was written is correct except the 10 yrs bit. It’s actually 7 yrs and 10 for bankruptcies…not sure about judgements. After 2-3 yrs those tend to have a lesser effect as time goes on as long as you keep paying down your debt with no late payments or added collections. Good Luck!

        1. Ron

          Donna, I agree. I have 3 public records that I got stuck with, and have paid off within the last few years. My scores were in the 550’s a few years ago, now are in the low 7’s. The public records are still on my report, but my payment history is perfect and my utilization is about 31%. It really seems if you be responsible after some bumps, there are lenders that will go with you.

    3. Tinykay1

      I also have a judgement from 7/09 that will fall off 07/16. Just wait it out. It should be removed after 7 years and should show when on your credit report.

    4. Tinykay1

      Also if you keep your balances below 30% that will make a huge difference. Although the judgment will probably always be listed in your denial reasons until it falls off, it’s not realty affecting your score at this time.


      @ladyjay – If your income is good your score seems in the range of what some people have reported can get approved.

  42. anthony

    Hi I have a 750 TransUnion and 720 Equifax and 724 Experian. Do you think I will get approved for Delta airline credit card ps.i have a 7 year old bankruptcy plus a perfect payment history.


      @anthony – Always hard to say, but your scores themselves are in the hunt. If your bankruptcy didn’t include any Amex cards then you could have a shot.

  43. Michael

    Which is the best travel rewards card for me to get approved on?

    I have a credit score of 733 on equinox and transition under my credit karma account.

    Problem is I recently applied for the BofA travel rewards card since that’s who i bank with but i was denied.
    My average age of credit history is only 9 months since i’ve been rebuilding my credit with my regular non travel BofA credit but i have perfect payment history and have never been late on a payment

    Any advice on one that’s great that would work for me would be appreciated


      @Michael – Hard to say – was average age of accounts the reason they gave in the denial letter? Generally a 733 with good income should put you in the hunt for just about any of them. Maybe wait another 4 months, then try a broadly advertised card like the Sapphire Preferred.

  44. scott

    Hi, I had a relative ruin my credit 5-7 years ago, when I was out of the country and had the mail coming to his house he used my cards without permission and they all charged off.

    Fast forward approx 2 years ago I got a secured capital one card, and I have now a couple of non secure cards from capital one, my total credit limits is approx $23000, and my credit karma transunion score is 799 and eqifax 753, my transunion has only one collection account left, the other 2 bureaus have 4 and 5 items including a judgment, Chase has declined my app for a Sapphire preferred and Barclay’s has Declined my app for the Arrival Plus, Chase has declined for past chargeoff and other baddies on the report, they told me that when the baddies fall off the report they can reconsider, Barclay’s declined me when I still had 2 collections on my transunion now I only have one baddie.

    Question is what rewards card would be a good card to apply for? I burned amex and I am on their blacklist, I also burned Chase, Citi, Capital One, HSBC, Wachovia and Bank Of America, but as I said before most of them aged off the reports.


      @scott – Sorry to hear about what happened. The Capital One Venture is probably your best bet either as an upgrade of your existing card or new application. It earns 2x points on everything so is a powerful card. B of A might not be bad to consider if you have an interest in Alaska miles, since it sounds like inquiries are not an issue, though go slowly when you have anything negative still there.

  45. George

    My credit score is a 650.i have three credit cards now.caring a balance of 40 % balance ever month you think should get approved for and airlines credit card.and i file bankruptcy 4 years ago.from threr on i never need late on making a payment. On my credit car or car payment


      @George – It’s probably early – you want to get that utilization (balance % of limits) down. That could also help your score. And the interest rates on these cards aren’t always the best, so if you have a balance, better to use your credit inquiries getting a lower rate via a balance transfer or a low ongoing rate.

  46. Sam S

    I recently transferred to my firm’s US branch. As a recent transplant I don’t have a credit history. I’ll now be flying to the UK several times a year to visit family and a credit card with either United or Delta (serve my local airport) and the signup mileage bonus would be invaluable to me.
    Do you think I have any chance of approval right now or will I need to wait until I’ve built up good credit.


      @Sam S – Hard to say but with a few months of secured credit card usage you should have a decent score if there are no negative items on your report.

  47. Sean


    How important is the ‘recent credit’ factor when applying for these cards? I have a good credit score (728), but due to applying for 3 cards within the last year (Grade = D) I feel like I may get turned away the next time I apply for a premium rewards card. I was recently rejected when I applied for the Citi Prestige card. Any advice? I would like to try for another card (Citi AAdvantage ideally) but I don’t want to harm my score any further. Thanks.


      @Sean – Are you sure you were rejected for the Prestige? Citi sometimes shows a ‘denied’ page when you first apply, but in reality they are just doing a manual review and will process it several days later.

      1. Sean

        I haven’t officially received the rejection in the mail yet, but after applying it told me to call because they were reviewing my application. When I called, they said it was rejected but wouldn’t provide a reason. In the mistake cases I’ve read for this card, the applicant was given positive news when they called. In the event I was rejected (I will wait for official confirmation by mail), how long should I wait to apply for a different card? Thanks.

      2. Sean

        I did get the official non-approval in the mail. Reason: “too few satisfactory credit references were recorded on your credit bureau report”

        Is this because I’m 25 and don’t have a long credit history (I’ve only ever had two credit cards, both which I have had for less than one year)? I am listed as a co-signer on two others (oldest credit line 8 years) but this clearly doesn’t mean much.

        Would appreciate your advice on this and if you think other premium rewards cards will react similarly (Citi AAdvantage in particular). Thanks!

  48. David Romero

    I’ve been rebuilding my credit for the last 3 years, and went from 500 to 720 on Equifax and 640 on Transunion, and I have things in my credit report 6,7,8,9,10 and 12 year still on there. I don’t know if that effects my chance to get a Southwest Rapid Rewards card. I have one credit card that I pay off on the first of the month, I applied for a Southwest Rapid Rewards card 2 months ago and was denied, how long does it take to get to get the derogatory marks off my credit report? I’m retired and have a great income, close to $100,00 a year. I would think with my score and income I would have no problem,.


      @David Romero – The 640 on Transunion is borderline for these kinds of cards.

      Generally though each bank has its own internal “automatic decline” factors for things like bankruptcy within a certain number of years or 90 days plus delinquent within a certain number of years, even if your score overall is good and your income as you noted is great.

      For example Chapter 7 bankruptcy can stay on your report for 10 years, and some banks won’t approve for some products while that’s on there.

      1. David Romero

        I’ve never file bankruptcy or title 7, just some late payments from 6 to 12 years ago, how long do those stay on there?

        1. Royster

          Late payments loss their value over time and should fall off after 7 years. If they do not then you need to contact each of the credit reporting agencies to have it removed. there is a website online that you can go to that will tell you how long each states statue of limitation is as well.

          Good luck.


  49. G Wheeler

    I recently brought a house and then lost my job shortly after my score before buying the house was 710 now because of a few late payments I am now at 500 and all my credit cards are being closed or the limits are reduced to what I owe. My questions is what is the best way to bring things back since I am now working and not behind on any of my cards but still have a low score


      @G Wheeler – Best thing is to keep paying on time. If you still have any card accounts, try using one to make a small purchase each month and pay it back in full on time. If you don’t have any credit card accounts anymore, consider a secured card – check with your local credit union as they often offer very fair ones.

  50. Julie

    I have 740 plus FICO score, but my five year old bankruptcy record is still showing on ‘just’ Transunion. No other derogatory remarks on any of the other two reports. Should I be able to qualify for some travel point cards?

    1. SD

      Disclosure: I work for one of the three bureaus and previously worked for a major credit card issuer. My comments are my own, based on the industry knowledge I have.

      Having a bankruptcy may or may not cause issues because some lenders, such as the one I used to work for, may have a policy that they decline people with bankruptcies regardless or score, or if it’s younger than 3/5/7 years, etc. (and if they pull that particular report that shows it). It depends on the lender and there is no way to know for sure without applying (you can try asking a representative if you apply over the phone, but they may or may not know/be able to divulge that information.

      From my industry experience, I’d say that if you have a 740 FICO score (and not another score), you’ll usually be able to qualify for most travel/rewards credit cards, except some of the super-ritzy ones (like AMEX Platinum, Chase Palladium, etc.).

  51. Carson park

    I’m wanting to build up non existent credit because I am almost 20 and have no credit history… I find that maybe getting a credit card is going to be the best bet for building up my credit! And I travel frequently, and I typically fly southwest. Any way I can get approved for a southwest card with no credit history?


      @Carson – Hard to say. It’s not impossible, but they probably want some income first.

      You may want to start with a card that’s targeted to students, use that responsibly, and then when you have income to report try for it.

  52. CC

    3 questions if I might:
    1-Why does balance on cards that are in my husbands name also show up as balances on my account?
    his number is 734 and mine 716 – but I have one derogatory remark leading to next question
    2- how do I find out what the derogatory is and how to clear it?
    3- also we have no carryover credit card debit…pay all cards in full each month. However we do charge a lot on our cards so are often very high in the debt to credit ratio…and was even declined on a card a couple of years ago for that reason.
    oh shoot this brings one more question- sorry!
    4- we also have many business credit card in each of our names which don’t appear to be reflected here. Is there such a thing as a business credit score. Wondering how one would check on that as well.

    1. MileCards


      Your husband’s cards probably show up on your report because you are an authorized user on those accounts. Whenever someone is added as an authorized user the info for that account will show up on both reports.

      To see what the derogatory issue on your file is, get a free credit report from the bureau itself. You can get one free full report a year under law. It will list whatever the derogatory item is and you can see how to obtain that report at

      For your high utilization, try pay your cards in full before the statement is produced and not wait for the due date. So if your statement is usually produced around the 24th of the month, try paying off the week prior. That should set your balances lower and make your utilization look better.

      As for your business credit cards. Some will not show on your personal report unless you default on them. Chase and American Express business cards are an example of this. So as long as you’re on time and don’t make any mistakes they will not appear there. Read this article for more detail:

      You can run a credit report for your small business here

  53. Annie S


    I am thinking of applying for a United Explorer card but my credit score is only 700. Do you think I will get approved? It seems like the average is higher than my credit score.

    1. MileCards

      @Annie – It’s hard for us to say – there are so many factors that go into it, but people with lower Credit Karma scores than yours have been approved according to that data.


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