Newbie credit card questions ( I incl. goals & credit history)

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Credit Cards' started by karolinap, Jun 22, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. karolinap

    karolinap Member

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    Hi,

    I'm new here. Holy crap! I am blown away by this forum! It's a whole other world. I thought I knew all there is to getting miles, but it turns out that is not the case. I have a lot to learn! This is really exciting though!

    Is there a guide I can find on churning and app o rama?

    I applied for chase slate yesterday. I am still waiting for approval. How long should I wait before I apply for the chase sapphire? Can I do it now or should I wait? I only have one credit card with chase bank, which is the explorer card. However, I am listed as an authorized user for my husband's explorer & southwest card. Therefore, when I pulled my Credit Karma report, 3 chase cc show up. I also bank with Chase.

    Also where can I find the "member since" date on the explorer card via chase.com?

    A little about me:
    The only airline/point credit card I have is the Explorer card. I fly United/CO almost exclusively so I can acquire more miles for international award flights, but I'm open to other airlines if you think it would be beneficial to me. I fly to Central America (mainly Costa Rica) 1-2 times a year. I also go to Poland from time to time. I fly domestic 1-2 a year.

    Credit:
    According to Credit Karma, my stats are the following: ​

    Your current debt-to-income ratio is 9%.​

    Utilization rate: 17% ​

    Transrisk score: 745​

    Vantage score: 801​

    oldest account: 7 years, 7 months. I'm 28. ​

    I have 7 revolving credit accounts, 9 including the authorized user cards. ​


    Is Credit Karma reliable? Should I purchase a FICO score? ​


    Goals:
    -Acquire award travel to Poland, Costa Rica, Peru, and Thailand (I am going to CR again in Feb).
    -I am going to travel within Central America for a year (not for another year or two).
    -I don't like staying at American hotels while traveling abroad. However, free stays are better than nothing. This may come in handy during my my travels in Central America, but I'm skeptical about finding American hotels in Central & South America. I tend to not visit major cities.
     
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  2. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    Welcome to MP.

    First question is why the Chase Slate card? Is it because of the balance transfer option? If you carry a balance on your cards playing the credit card game may not be the best thing for you. Remember, the Slate does not offer points / miles so it does nothing for you in that regard.

    One key element you don't mention is how many hard pulls you have in the past 3 and 6 months. You should probably look at your credit report for all three agencies.

    For Chase, you probably need to wait a couple of months before applying for another card (assuming you are approved for the Slate card). At that time, you might think of the UA card. If you are flying UA and I assume paying for the tickets, you can earn double miles on UA purchases plus it gives you other perks when you fly - don't know how important that is to you. If it isn't, then go for the Sapphire card. The advantage of the Sapphire card is that it will allow you to "convert" your Freedom points.

    You should also watch some of the blogs to see what special offers there are.

    Key is to make sure that you keep your credit score up.
     
  3. dhammer53
    Original Member

    dhammer53 Gold Member

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  4. karolinap

    karolinap Member

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    Thanks for your help. I had one hard pull in Feb and one yesterday.

    I got the Slate card for the balance transfer option. I have $2,500 in credit card debt. I know it's not advised to get more credit cards when carrying a balance, but I I will not be using airline/reward cards for everyday purchases. Once I reach the $3,000 min to earn points, I will not be using the card at all. I am going to Europe next month, so meeting that requirement & paying the balance in full won't be a problem. However, it sounds like I may have to wait a couple months before I apply for another chase card. I'm not concerned about increasing more debt since I don't use credit cards anymore. I only make exceptions, for sign up bonuses and even then I don't use it beyond the minimum.

    Are you referring to the United Airlines MileagePlus explorer cc? If so, I already have that. I want to get the sapphire card so I can convert the 40,000 points to Mileageplus miles.

    What other credit cards offer transfers to MileagePlus?
     
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  5. jkchan83

    jkchan83 Silver Member

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    Welcome to MP, karolinap.

    Please be sure to get the Sapphire Preferred card if you are going to try and transfer UR points to UA miles. The regular Sapphire card (not Preferred) does not have that feature, but has no annual fee.

    Ultimate Rewards lets you transfer points from one account to another. Therefore, if you have an active Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold (business card), then you can transfer UR points from other UR accounts into the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold account and then transfer the miles to UA. It takes longer to read/write this than it does to make it happen. :)

    For example, I get UR points for my Chase Freedom card. I transfer those points to my Sapphire Preferred UR account. From there, I transfer the UR points to MileagePlus miles. Hope this helps.
     
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  6. miles and smiles
    Original Member

    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    Hi karolinap and welcome to Milepoint.
    The most important thing you said is "I have a lot to learn". That's true for all of us.
    And even if you could pick the brains of a number of experts, you would still have to learn how to apply that knowledge to your own situation.
    For example, you mentioned that you tend to not visit major cities. (I often do the same). So, hotel points will be of less value to you. The only major exception I can think of is if you want to stay at a hotel near an airport when you first arrive and just before departure. The hotel chains that have the most coverage in smaller cities and towns are Choice Privileges, Best Western and Wyndham Rewards. I have no idea if they have hotels where you want to go.

    With services like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame, keep in mind that their scores are only an approximation of your FICO scores. I have found them to be about 10 points off. Others have found larger discrepancies - up to 50 points.
    www.FrugalTravelGuy.com has a list of companies that will give you your FICO scores with a free trial offer.

    Chase Bank is picky about giving too much credit too quickly. I would definitely research their tendencies/preferences before applying for more of their cards.

    You should also consider acquiring American Airlines miles as they have a lot of flight from Texas to Latin America and you can acquire AA miles via Citibank. Having miles in more than one program gives you flexibility in case your favored program does not have service or availability where you want to go.

    A rather extensive list of the available credit card mile and point offers is here:
    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/milesbuzz/1177334-special-credit-card-offers-master-thread.html

    Good luck!
     
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  7. particlemn

    particlemn Silver Member

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    I would recommend focusing all energy on paying off the 2500 in debt and not worry about anything else until that is done. the key to these cards/sign up bonus is to use them on every day purcahses, but to pay them off that way you get something for spending you would already do.
    playing in these sign up bonuses take a lot of detail planing and checking. the kind of person whom does well with it is someone whom never carries a balance, and always pays attention to the amount they have charged. the banks offer these great sign up bonuses becasue most people can not be deciplined to use the card just for the sign up and then pay off. please be carefull, you are about to add large expences from a trip while still having a balance even if that balance is at a low or zero percent interest.
     
  8. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    I wrote my post above before I knew that you have credit card debt. I agree with particlemn.
    I wouldn't even think about applying for any credit cards of any kind until you have cleared off your debt completely and are totally sure you are ready to pay off any new and existing cards monthly and never carry a balance.
    Otherwise you are playing with fire.
     
  9. particlemn

    particlemn Silver Member

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    This is the kind of statement the credit card companies love, i would recommend being very careful.
     
  10. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    As I said in my first post, playing the credit card game is not for people who have a balance on their credit card. You applied for a new card for the sole purpose of NOT PAYING off your credit card debt.

    You also make a very telling statement in your second post. You state: "I'm not concerned about increasing more debt since I don't use credit cards anymore." This implies that you have had trouble with managing credit in the past. Getting more cards just gives you the temptation to again spend beyond your means with the rationale that you need to do the spending to "get the miles". Not a good reason.

    Your trip to Europe will be much more costly than you expect. Food and transportation is extremely expensive. In addition, you say you take various trips within the US and to Central America each year. Since you have CC debt, you should rethink your priorities - you have spent beyond your means. Concentrate on paying off your debt and THEN, and only then THINK about getting new credit cards.
     
  11. BuckleandBoots

    BuckleandBoots Silver Member

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    I'm consistently impresses by the quality of advice on milepoint!

    To add to the discussion, credit card churning can be an expensive game when done incorrectly. Most cards will only waive an annual fee for the first year. After that you have to test your luck to get a second waiver (I imagine this is hard if you rarely use the card) or close the account (which costs more credit points.)
     
  12. LizzyDragon84
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    LizzyDragon84 Gold Member

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    I have several friends who want to play this miles/points game and who come to me for advice. One of the first questions I ask them is if they have any credit card debt, and whether they would have any problems paying off the cards in full each month. If the answer to either question is yes, then I advise them to not get in the game just yet. They need to get their finances in order first. One of the things about reward credit cards is that they have high APRs- usually 10% or more. If you pay off the cards in full, it doesn't matter. But if you don't, the interest alone can add up very quickly.
     

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