The moment you began reading this website you had set yourself up for an inevitable moment – you will, at some point, be declined for a credit card. As I’ve repeatedly said, being declined for cards does not mean your credit score will drop nor does it mean you are financially ruined.
What it does mean, however, is that you did not receive that weekend getaway and you have one more hard inquiry on your credit report, so each application holds considerable value.
So what to do? In my experience of reading extensively on this subject and applying for dozens of cards, I’ve identified five mistakes people tend to make prior to an application – mistakes that lead to less miles and unhappy readers.
1. Not checking your credit score
This is the #1 mistake made before an application. Always check your credit score before applying because you never know when a mistake may be reported, a large debt is outstanding, etc.
It is also helpful to keep a pulse on how many hard inquiries you have, since having too many (3+) is a big reason applicants are denied. On top of all of that, checking your score is simple and free so there is no excuse not to.
2. Signing up for too much spend
Too many times I have seen readers see a card with a spend well above their means and say, “I can spend that much.” Well, yeah, you can…it’s paying it off that is the issue. I have said and will continue to say that if earning miles causes you to spend more than you normally would I don’t recommend it.
Sure you can pay your rent with a site like RentShare or even your mortgage in some cases, but this almost always comes with a fee that offsets any miles earned.
My best advice? Save the complex spending to those that have the time. There are plenty of opportunities within your reach.
3. Applying too often or always at the same bank
You know how I said at some point you’d be declined for a credit card? Well this is the reason yours truly met that moment. Before I had fully learned the ropes, I applied too soon to my third card at Citibank.
The result? A big old deny from the phone representative. They even threw salt on the wound and added an apology letter a couple weeks later.
Now had I read one of my blogger counterparts, I would have realized then that when applying for Citibank cards there is a simple rule to follow – one application every eight days, two ever 65. Every bank is different but the easiest thing to do is check – meaning ask me! – before applying to increase your approval odds.
If you don’t like me, a good resource is the credit card sub-forum of FlyerTalk.
4. Always taking the public offer
I promise this isn’t a marketing ploy, but there is a reason several blogs exist in the mileage earning space. The credit card offers a casual observer will see can often be less than the amounts more seasoned milers find.
That is why I am here – to sift through the various offers out there and bring the best ones to you. A good example is the current Chase United Explorer card – while the public see a 30,000 miles offer, I outlined how to receive 55,000 United miles with the same card!
While I hope you choose to continue following me, at least choose one blogger to follow before all of your applications. My Credit Card Deals page automatically has the best deals – so start there or contact me via email or social media.
5. Being afraid of business cards
This one comes with a caveat: you need to have a business. But what that business entails is completely up to you. For my first business card application, my business was I bought and sold tickets online with a yearly profit of $500. I didn’t lie or stretch this in any way on my application and was approved for a credit line of $5,000.
Many readers immediately disregard business cards without realizing even the smallest of businesses – eBay, Stubhub, craigslist – could net them rewards. This mistake is only amplified when you consider some of the best deals out there are business cards (scroll down to view business-specific cards).
So there we have it – five more things to consider in the complex world of earning miles. Keep this list top of mind before applying to your next card and you’ll save yourself at least one more day from being denied.
And, as always, if you have any questions on the above just comment below.