The When and How to Apply for Credit Cards – Part 1 “When”

Those of you who have visited AcCounting Your Points before might know that the answer to the question of “Why to apply for credit cards?” is simple – to help you travel more while spending less! It sounds great in a one sentence blurb, but “free travel” with points earned from Credit Card sign-ups requires you to actually sign-up for credit cards, which is a task in itself. But fear not my curious and frugal travelers! I am here with a two-part post in order to address the questions of “When?” and then ultimately “How?” to apply for credit cards that will earn you those massive point bonuses that you can use towards more free travel!

CLock Pic

Part 1 – The “When”:

Chances are if you are reading this blog then you are interested in free travel and how credit card points and miles can help you achieve it… so now it is time to take action! There is no time like the present! Why do tomorrow what you could do today? YOLO (you only live once!) – All possible answers to the question of when to apply for a good rewards earning credit card (or two!), but SLOW DOWN! It will benefit you greatly if you take some time to set a plan and understand the items below prior to rushing into credit card applications!

Some additional advice on “When” to apply:

  1. When you have a set travel goal (this keeps you in check with the Starter Guide). Applying for credit cards and earning points and miles can be fun, but it is important to have a plan so none of those points and miles go to waste!
  1. When you understand your credit and are comfortable with your score (if you don’t know your score then check out for a free score estimate, which has been pretty accurate in my experience) – a “good” score is considered anything over 700, while an “excellent” score is anything over 730.

Credit Karma Pic

  1. When you receive a “targeted” offer, or if the public offer is better than what is normally advertised.
    1. A “targeted” offer is an offer that is sent specifically to you (i.e. you cannot pass it on to a friend). Targeted offers can offer a significant amount of points/miles over the normal offer available to the public in order to entice you into applying. Targeted offers may come in the mail or via email, or you can check out the Cardmatch tool for other targeted offers!
    2. Increased Public Offers – These are offers that are for a higher point/mile bonus than a card may normally offer and though they are available to all applicants, they typically last for a limited time so act sooner rather than later! The current offer for the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a perfect example of this (which i detail in this previous post).

CSP Increased Offer

  1. When 91 days (or more) have passed since your last application round. By leaving this 3 month period between applications you are providing your credit score to rebound from the hard inquiries that you incurred. If you are only applying for new credit cards once in a while then this factor might not have much impact, but if you apply for 2 or more cards at a time (commonly called an app-o-rama) then the 91 day strategy is probably in your best interest.

When to apply - AYP

  1. When you don’t already have a relationship with the Bank that issues the card. Banks like to give credit, so make sure you know the big banks and who you currently have credit with. The most common Credit Card issuers are Bank of America, Chase, Citi, Barclays, American Express, Wells Fargo and Capital One, so try to diversify your credit amongs them!

AYP Mals CC pic

And there you have it! You are on your way to the FREE TRAVEL of your dreams! Stay tuned for Part 2 – The “How” to come!

For other tips and pointers on when and how to apply for credit cards, or if you have any specific questions on credit cards that you have been considering, please feel free to post comments below or email me at

Your free travel is waiting…


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