Choosing The Right Travel Credit Card


Deciding which travel credit cards to prioritize can be daunting with so many to choose from.  The first thing is to figure out where you want to go.  Research the destination and find out which airlines fly to your destination and which hotel chains have locations there.  You will likely find that most of the big airlines or one of their partner airlines will fly there which is a plus.  If you don’t have a specific destination in mind or the answer is “everywhere” you can focus on credit cards with maximum flexibility. 

How Many Cards Should You Get?

The question become with so many credit cards to choose from and knowing that you you will get you biggest chunks of points through sing up bonuses, how many cards should you get?

The answer is as many as possible for your situation.  It is important that you should not apply for any credit card that you cannot hit the minimum spend requirement.  If you can only do one card at a time, then that is all you can do.  If you can afford two at a time, then you should do that.  The key is not not change your long term spending habits above from possibly taking a binge and purge approach.  Do not buy more than you normally would.  Outside of that, feel free to open as many cards as possible to accumulate as many rewards as possible. 

If anything having more lines of credit open will only improve your credit score.  Rarely will having a ton of credit cards open hurt you, unless you are not paying them off.  The only time you should be closing card accounts is to avoid an annual fee.  No annual fee cards should tay open even if you don’t use them.  Showing you are responsible with multiple lines of credit can only help you.

Chase 5/24

You may or may not have heard of the Chase 5/24 rule.  As we will detail below Chase cards will be your most valuable, but also have some strings attached.  They have tried to curb the use of people who are only opening cards for the sign up bonus and then move onto the next.  Obviously they want you to continue to use their cards. 

The result is they will deny new applicants who have opened at least 5 credit cards in the last 24 months.  This includes any branded credit card, not just Chase cards.  For people who are constantly opening up new cards, this means they may not be able to get many Chase branded cards.  Whether you are a beginner or expert always keep track of how many credit cards you have opened on a spreadsheet so you can calculate when you can look at getting another Chase card.  This also gives an advantage to those who open up multiple cards at the same time.  It makes it easier to dip under the 5/24 rule the way if you cluster together all your sign ups.

Can you still get approved if you have gone over the 5/24?  There have been some success stories.  Sometimes the system simply fails to recognize all the cards you have opened during the credit check.  You may also plead your case to chase over the phone or better yet in a Chase branch.  They are more likely to approve an exception if you bank with Chase. 

The other option is to open business credit cards.  The credit check looks at your personal credit cards and any Chase business cards you have opened under your name.  It will not look at business cards opened under other brands other than Chase.

Personal Cards vs Business Cards

Many of the more desirable credit cards have a personal credit card and a business credit card version.  You can double up the sign up bonus by getting both the personal and business cards.  This is in addition to taking advantage of the 5/24 loophole and concentrating on business cards to stay under 5/24.

What if you don’t have a business?  With today’s sharing economy it is getting easier than ever to claim you have a business.  You qualify as having your own business if you have ever sold anything on eBay or Etsy.  If you have ever rented out your house or ran a dog walking service if you have run your own business.  Being able to apply for a business card opens up a whole line of credit cards and many of them are among lucrative to have.  When applying for a business card use your social security number as the Employer ID number (EIN) and the income is your total income from all forms including your regular job.    

For more information on travel credit cards see our complete guide on conquering travel reward credit cards.

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