Our winning tip for this week goes to Bryan C with his tip about setting travel goals first when deciding which airline program to focus on. It is important to set goals first and then pick a program based on what you are trying to accomplish. Great Tips everyone! We took away a lot of valuable information last week, information that serves every traveler, Rookie or not. I thank everyone for taking your personal time to invest your experiences for the newbies in this game.
Brian C, send Rick your Email address.
Each of us have different travel goals, different airports of interest, and different lives entirely, but we can all make the deal work for us. The blog is so important because it brings together a community of people who are making this work in a thousand different ways. It is important to share and learn from each other, remember, there are always enough points to go around.
For me the best way to rack up the points has been through credit card deals. My experience has been one I think common to young students with no credit. I made it a goal of mine to live debt free. I said ” if I cant pay cash for it I cannot afford it”. I graduated college with no credit cards, no student loans and no debt. Well, that’s all good until you get out into the real world and have No Credit!
When I approached Rick about how I could get some free flights he suggested I sign up for a credit card with a big bonus. So that’s what I did. Denied, Denied and Denied again! What was happening? I pay all of my bills, I don’t have any loans, I have no credit card debt, and yet they are telling me no? I basically didn’t exist to them, I had no credit history. I thought, ” how am I going to build a credit history if you won’t give me a credit card?”, it didn’t make sense, but apparently that’s the way the game is played. I got a free credit report and learned my score was in the 650 range. Rick helped me write an appeal letter to the credit card company and finally one approved me. I ended up getting 2 okay cards and a few free flights.
I went on these last 2 years paying off my balance in full every month like any frugal gal would, I thought that would look very responsible. My mother was gracious enough to give me a 1998 Saturn sedan when I chose to move 1000 miles away for college, so I didn’t have a car payment. Along the way I watched Rick do these great card deals like the BA 100,000 miler and numerous others, but I couldn’t qualify.
Meanwhile, it was time to start thinking about another car, and a great way to earn credit, a car loan. I went to the bank and applied. I have a full time job which pays decent money, no debt, I’ve had 2 credit cards for 2 years and never carried a balance, this seemed all good to me. Not good enough apparently, I was denied a car loan. What the heck is this! The staff at Suntrust Bank(not the bank I initially tried to get a loan from) told me that if I actually carried a balance on my credit cards for a few months this would improve my credit score. I only did that for about 2 months before the Saturn started overheating every time I drove it. She needed to be retired, or I was going to be stuck on the side of the road with no car and no credit (what a sad fate).
I went and joined the credit union at my place of work and applied with them for a car loan. As the lender was running my credit report I was saying to her ” now I know its not going to be very good, I have no history , I have no loans blah blah blah”. To my surprise it was 730!!!!!! WAHOO!!!! Hallelujah, it worked, somehow it worked! I drove my car literally overheating into the dealership they gave me a whole $300 dollars for it and I left with a much more reliable vehicle and a credit score of 730. I was so proud, I knew Rick would be too.
Point of the story….It can be done. Now on to some card applications for some real points! Question of the week: I want to apply for a card, which one do I apply for now and why?
The Frugal Travel Guy has previously posted on some common issues regarding your Credit
Please click on the topic, then the related link to read more.
A US Airways Credit Card with No First Year Fee
It’s Rick here. James sent me a link for a US Airways card from Barclay’s without a first year fee. He suggested it has been almost 4 years since that has happened. Katy is going for it and I am as well on February 19th. In addition there is a 25K offer for a business card.
And a Better Marriott Offer than my Link
I read your blog and wanted to share this offer which is a little better than the Marriott offer that you listed because it throws in a $75 statement credit. I’m not sure how to share the offer with others because if you just click the link (https://applynowdc1.chase.