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If you are here reading this forum/thread, you probably have heard, seen or know someone who has been leveraging credit card points for free or very low cost travel and want to get involved. While it may be very tempting to jump right in and apply for a bunch of credit cards, it is advisable to read through the forums before doing so.

For those who have no credit history, building your credit score is strongly recommended and may even be needed before applying for any credit cards.

Step 1 - Try and get added as an Authorized User (AU) on an established credit card. This card should be kept in good standing and preferably have a low credit utilization ratio.
Some have had success with Amex to get your card backdated to the primary cardholders "member since" date. Having this done will increase your credit history to that of  the account holders first Amex card.
UPDATE Amex no longer backdates any cards. Any authorized user card will show up on the AUs report as a new account, opened on the date that the AU was added. Amex is now one of the worse choices to get added as an AU to, for credit building purposes.
Chase, Citi, Bank of America and others are more likely to show the full history of the primary cardholder on the authorized user's report than Amex is.

Additional Option - In conjunction with being added as an AU, you can  sign up for a secure credit card.
A secured credit card works almost like a debit card (you need to lay out your credit limit), but this functions as a regular credit card and will help build your credit score.

Step 2 - Once you are setup as an AU, it is best to wait a few months before applying for your first card.

Your first card should be a store credit card, which are easier to get approved for, especially with very limited credit history.
Some of the store cards people apply for are Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Kohl's, Macy's, Target etc. While these cards will not give you major signup bonuses to travel with, they do give you access to exclusive promotions and other perks when purchasing from the store.

Additional Options - The CapitalOne Journey card seems to be easier to get approved for, though understand they will pull your credit from all three agencies, while most banks only pull from one.

Discover has a student card you can apply for here. This can also be an easier option to getting approved for your first card. Their regular IT card (not student) seems to be pretty easy to get approved for with little to no credit history as well.

Step 3 - Pay your bill before your statement closes (cut off date), but leave a minimal amount remaining to be paid after your statement closes. This will help ensure that you have both a low CC utilization while establishing a good credit payment history. (This applies to new spending from this month.  Anything already 'due' should be paid in full.)

Step 4 - After using your first card for a few months, you will be ready to apply for the cards you will have read and heard so much about. Remember that getting accepted for a credit card is a combination of many factors like credit history and your credit score, but it is also dependent on the income that you claim* you make.  Income is not part of your credit report or score.

Step 5 - This is a brief synopsis of what to do when applying for credit cards. There are additional factors one should understand before applying for credit cards. DDF is a great resource and there are many people willing to answer your questions (which you should ask, albeit after attempting a search) 

*If you are under 21, you are legally only allowed to report personal income. Personal income, however, can include allowances and scholarships.
If you are over 21, you can claim any income which you have reasonable access to in order to pay back the bill, which includes the income of others in the household (spouse/parent), or anyone supporting you. Additionally, while most banks will not have you verify your income, it does happen and you should be prepared to show them. This is particularly prevalent with American Express, and is known as a Financial Review (FR).
« Last edited by S209 on September 09, 2018, 01:45:26 AM »

Author Topic: Credit Card For Beginners  (Read 533255 times)

Offline LoLo

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4290 on: April 06, 2017, 10:19:50 PM »
There's Only one avios card, the ba card, which comes with a $95 AF.
Amex chase and citi have cards that earn points that can be transferred to avios.
Citi?

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4291 on: April 06, 2017, 11:32:02 PM »

Offline LoLo

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4292 on: April 07, 2017, 01:13:10 AM »

Offline INTELLIGENTBLONDE

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4293 on: April 23, 2017, 09:50:17 AM »
My annual fee for spg business just hit. Is there another card I can downgrade to? Are there any cons to closing this card like when I close a personal card? Thanks

Online mmgfarb

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4294 on: April 23, 2017, 01:08:56 PM »
My annual fee for spg business just hit. Is there another card I can downgrade to? Are there any cons to closing this card like when I close a personal card? Thanks
Can't downgrade, closing won't affect your CR.
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Offline Moshe26

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4295 on: April 24, 2017, 08:27:16 PM »
Are there any higher offers than 50k +100$ for the IHG personal? If yes can you pls share link? Thanks

Offline INTELLIGENTBLONDE

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4296 on: May 01, 2017, 08:15:40 PM »
Can't downgrade, closing won't affect your CR.

Thanks! Should I call or secure message?

Also, separate question.. when  downgrading a spg personal card.. what do u write in the secure message?

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4297 on: May 01, 2017, 08:47:31 PM »
Thanks! Should I call or secure message?

Also, separate question.. when  downgrading a spg personal card.. what do u write in the secure message?
Call or chat, doesn't matter. Can't downgrade SPG personal either.
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Offline smart man

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4298 on: June 15, 2017, 09:43:56 PM »
Which bonus should I go for that has a 3k spend or less? I'm under 5/24. But it doesn't have to be a chase cause of 5/24 as I barely signup for cards. Thinking of the united or amex delta maybe southwest. Thoughts?

Offline BP16

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4299 on: June 15, 2017, 09:57:12 PM »
Which bonus should I go for that has a 3k spend or less? I'm under 5/24. But it doesn't have to be a chase cause of 5/24 as I barely signup for cards. Thinking of the united or amex delta maybe southwest. Thoughts?
United at 50k is worth the most

Offline jds

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4300 on: June 30, 2017, 11:56:01 AM »
Approximately how long of an effect will shutting down a credit card with a $25K limit (approximately 20-25% of my total credit available) have on my credit score? Shutting it down to avoid fee. (It's a chase card and I'm above the 5/24 rule, so I cant open another card and transfer the CL). Or, is it worth it to just pay the $95? (I, personally, don't care about short term effects. I currently have score of apx 750).

Offline jds

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4301 on: June 30, 2017, 11:58:04 AM »
United at 50k is worth the most

Is the ability to obtain a companion pass just with the signup bonus for southwest not make it more valuable right now, assuming you were going to use the points (and not sell them)?

Offline as2

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4302 on: June 30, 2017, 12:14:42 PM »
Is the ability to obtain a companion pass just with the signup bonus for southwest not make it more valuable right now, assuming you were going to use the points (and not sell them)?
Southwest points usually reflect the ticket price, while UA will vary in value, giving them the ability to be worth more than SW points even with CP.
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Offline JACKBLUE

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4303 on: June 30, 2017, 12:21:49 PM »
Approximately how long of an effect will shutting down a credit card with a $25K limit (approximately 20-25% of my total credit available) have on my credit score? Shutting it down to avoid fee. (It's a chase card and I'm above the 5/24 rule, so I cant open another card and transfer the CL). Or, is it worth it to just pay the $95? (I, personally, don't care about short term effects. I currently have score of apx 750).
if it's a business card it doesn't effect your score.
If it's a personal card why don't you change it to a no annual fee card?

Offline jds

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4304 on: June 30, 2017, 01:19:01 PM »
If it's a personal card why don't you change it to a no annual fee card?

Will it count as 1/5 for 5/24? Also, will it effect my ability to receive a bonus for the "new card" (within 2 years of closing the new card)?