Home Travel Tips Which Credit Cards Should You Apply For First?
Which Credit Cards Should You Apply For First?

Which Credit Cards Should You Apply For First?


Chase has a 5/24 rule, which means that they will not approve a card if you have more than 5 new accounts from any banks within 24 months. I did not know this rule due to lack of research in the beginning so was focusing on non-Chase cards first. That was a HUGE mistake since Chase probably has the best cards overall. Luckily, Tran learned from my mistake and was able to obtain the Chase Sapphire Preferred *. This card allows you to accumulate Ultimate Rewards (UR) points, of which can be transferred to multiple airlines and hotels, including United and Hyatt, two partners that we utilized for our honeymoon. While Tran attempts to amass UR points, I focus on getting Citi Thank You Points (TYP) and SPG Starpoints as they have similar flexible programs.

Therefore, we’d recommend you to get cards that offer flexible points in order to transfer to various partners.  There are 4 major programs.  Please refer to this post if you need help with manufactured spending to meet the minimum requirements.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase Sapphire Preferred*:  AF $95, bonus 50,000 points after meeting min spending of $4,000. You get double points on dining and travel, including Uber.

Chase Ink Business*: Receive 80,000 points after $5,000 spending in 3 months, AF $95. This is the main card that Tran used to purchase Visa gift cards from Staples to accumulate enough points for our honeymoon flights.  You get 5x points on cell phone bills and office supplies purchases.
Both Tran and I qualified for business cards by listing selling on Ebay as our business.

Chase Freedom*: Earn 15,000 points or $150 after spending $500 within 3 months.  This is one of our favorite cards because it has no annual fee and has rotating 5x categories throughout the year.  Currently, this quarter offers 5x at restaurants and movie theatres.  This will always be in our wallets.

Partners include British Airways, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, United, Hyatt.

Citi Thank You Points

Citi Prestige:  You’ll get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, which can be applied twice within the first year card membership for a total of $500, a $100 statement credit to cover the cost of either Global Entry or TSA Precheck, a complimentary 4th night for any hotel stay at hotels booked through Citi Prestige Concierge, and a free Priority Pass Select membership.
You’ll earn 3x on airfare and hotels, 2x on dining/entertainment. It does come with a hefty annual fee of $450 but the benefits far outweigh the fee, at least in the first year.

Citi Premier: You earn 3 points per dollar spent on travel expenses, which includes gas and ride-share apps, and 2x points spent on restaurants and entertainment. There is a $95 annual fee, which is waived for the first year.  This card is always in my wallet for all the gas purchases, tolls, and Lyft rides.

Citi Thank You Preferred: If you prefer a card with no annual fee, then this is the card for you. When you use this card at restaurants and on entertainment, you receive 2x points. All other purchases earn 1x points.

Unfortunately, within this past year, Citi considered these 3 cards to be in the same family. You can no longer apply for multiple at once. According to this new rule, you can only apply for one card in each family every 24 months.  For example, if you apply for Citi Prestige now then will have to wait until August 2019 to apply for the Premier. I was fortunate to get the first two together last year.

Partners include Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Virgin America

SPG Starpoints

There are only 2 cards that offer starpoints. They are also very similar to one another. They offer Boingo hotspot access and some perks at Starwood properties, but the main reason we have these cards is that the SPG points are so valuable. You can use them for good redemption value at SPG properties, transfer to Marriott in a 1:3 ratio, or transfer to their many airline partners.  If transferring to airline partners, you get an additional 5,000 points for every 20,000 points transferred.  This is one of the ways we are accumulating Alaska miles. Amex does have a one bonus per card per lifetime, but we still like these cards in our wallets for organic spend.

SPG Personal:*  Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints spending $3,000 within the first 3 months. $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

SPG Business*:  Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. As a cardmember, you’ll also get access to the Sheraton Club Lounge if staying at Sheraton properties $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Partners include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Asiana Airlines, British Airways, Delta, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, United, Thai Airways

Amex Membership Rewards

Since Amex only allows one bonus per lifetime, we haven’t applied for any of their cards that accumulate MR points yet. We are waiting for the highest offers so will keep you posted if we do!

*We don’t have affiliate links but if you apply through our referral links and if approved, we would earn points too.  Thank you.



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