I really do try to refrain from pontificating with this platform, but people really do amaze me at times. Here is my point:
Over the past two years plus I have been constantly reminding you of the value and importance of maintaining a good credit report and score. I have continually suggested minimum scores as a guideline before considering applying for credit cards and followed the suggestions up with watch the number of inquiries on your report and your balances in relation to your credit lines. These are all valid concerns along with being aware of potential future major purchases which may require a nice high score with minimum inquiries.
What I fail to understand is why people that have good credit (a valuable asset), Don’t use it to their advantage.
Several years ago, when we had a decent spread on interest rates from 0% balance transfer options on credit cards to savings rates, Katy and I used our good credit to borrow money on the 0% offers and put the money in savings accounts that earned us interest at rates from 5-6%. We borrowed over $250,000 combined and made automatic payments using bill pay systems to keep the underlying 0% credit card deals current until the promotions ran out. We then paid the cards off and pocketed almost $15,000 in interest income.
In short, we used our most important asset for personal gain.
We can’t make that interest spread in this economic environment, but we can use our good credit to gain valuable miles and points with no negative long term effect on our credit.
Many of you have reported great success over the last two years in gaining miles and points. I have not heard of anyone yet, having their credit score decimated by applying for a few cards. Some of you have even reported your credit scores going up after opening a few new accounts. (it happens to those with limited credit history).
My scores are still in the mid 700′s. I am still approved for the cards I apply for and still earning those bonuses. I am using one of my most important assets, and asking myself:
Under the right circumstances, using discretion and common sense, are you using your good credit effectively to maximize your own personal gain?
Check your scores. Check your inquiries. And look for opportunities to improve your life by using one of your most important assets.
Here is the Zync Card by American Express
For those of you that are concerned about carrying a balance on a card over the long haul and paying interest ( a real no no), here is a new entry from Amex that may be of interest.
The Zync card is a charge card that reports to the credit reporting agencies. As a charge card the balance is due in full every month. If you start off well with them they will offer you the extended payment option which is nice to have, but then you are paying interest.
I’m led to believe that lower credit scores may qualify for this card as they make reference several times in their advertising materials that it will help you build your credit score.
Now for the sign up rewards: 10,000 Membership Rewards points. These points, although Membership Rewards points are in their Express program which do not qualify for transfer to airline miles but are still good for buying tickets with points and gift cards and merchandise. I think their ad should be more explicit up front, but what the heck it is $100 of rewards for $25.
The annual fee is $25 and there are options to increase your Membership Rewards points earning based on a Pack of awards you can obtain for another $20 per year. One pack gives you double points on airfare and another (that would work well for Katy and I) offers two points per $ on restaurant spending.
This card has potential as a starting card for those new to cards, and also for those looking to use their good credit to increase their account balances. And remember April is just a few days away. Have you used that good credit score to its full advantage?
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49