Credit Cards The Basics

Travel Question: “How much time should I allow between applying for a credit card offer and the trip I am planning?”

If you have any questions, please e-mail me at or in write a comment about what you would like to know more about, and I will do my best to answer it. I am not the expert on this for sure, but will do my best to get you answer!

For today, the questions is a good one: Many people wonder how long they should plan ahead when they start trying to accrue miles or points for a certain trip. It depends on the amounts you are looking at needing. For instance, if you are planning a trip to Europe, you will need a minimum of 60,000 miles per person going on the trip (you can get by with 45,000 if you take advantage of this deal) for the flights. That is a pretty cut and dry figure. It can get a little cloudy when you start talking about hotels. Considering the number of different categories within each hotel loyalty program, it can be as little as 30,000 points (in a program like Marriott) or as high as 300,000 (also in Marriott) for a 5 night stay. That can differ from hotel program to hotel program, but figure 60,000 points for a 5 night stay. Instead of hotel points, you could also use one of the fixed point redemption programs (that give you 1.25 cent per point redemption rate) to secure hotel rooms.

However, if you are taking a trip for one person to a USA destination and only staying one or two nights, it would only take 25,000 miles for the flight and as little as 13,000 points in a hotel program. For a domestic trip such as this, you can apply for a card that would easily cover the flight and another that could easily cover the hotel stay. If you are looking at a European destination for two, it would take either 2 credit cards each for the airfare or 1 credit card per person and a decent amount of spending to cover it. For the hotel, it can be done on just 1 credit card.

The problem comes when you go to apply. Chase Bank, for example, only allows you to make one personal credit card application every 30 days (without submitting it for additional review). Considering that some of the strongest credit card bonuses in play right now come from Chase, you would need to space those applications a month a part. In addition to separating the applications, the higher bonus offers typically come with a spending threshold (which can be $3,000 in 90 days or something similar). You need to work that in your planning as well. When we begin doing reviews on the different cards, we will discuss all of this in more detail.

So, the safest timeframe you could expect would be around 60 days before your trip. If you are planning for a larger international destination, it would be better to plan at least 6 months ahead of time. If you want to make it more of a special, once-in-a-lifetime experience, it would be good to look at least a year ahead. That’s it! Going by that timing, you could plan a great trip at least ONCE A YEAR! how does that sound? We will be going into all of this more as time goes on. Let me know if you have any specific questions! I will be only glad to help you!

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