Ever since a friend brought up the topic of manufactured spending in late 2013, I got curious and started reading up on various blogs trying to understand how that works and why people do that. This led to my discovery of an uncharted territory – earning miles and points via credit card sign on bonuses. This has been a known method for years however I was always skeptical. Mainly I was under the assumption that applying for too many credit cards negatively impact one’s credit score. This might be true if you don’t pay off your balance in full every month and don’t have the discipline to resist the plastic temptation. However, if you strategically apply for cards and use them wisely, even if it impacts your credit score, the difference is pretty minimal, and more likely it actually helps with your credit score. There are many many points and miles bloggers who blog about what cards to apply, when to apply, and how best to utilize them. I’ll leave those to the experts and focus more on my own experience here.
During 2014, I applied and was approved for 6 credit cards. Yeah I know it sounds crazy, but believe it or not my FICO score is higher now than it was before my credit card frenzy. Throughout the year my score fluctuated a bit but it was always in the high 700’s ~ low 800’s.
Card Annual Fee Sign-on Bonus Min Spending Req Barclay Arrival Plus $89 waived 1st yr 44000 $1000 Citi AA Platinum Select $95 waived 1st yr 50000 $3000 Chase Sapphire Preferred $95 waived 1st yr 40000 $3000 United Mileage Plus Explorer $95 waived 1st yr 50000 $2000 Citi AA Executive $450 75000 $7500 Hyatt Gold Passport $75 waived 1st yr 2 free stays $1000
To sum it up, in one year, with 6 credit cards, I managed to earned 259,000 miles/points plus 2 free nights with Hyatt at any category. What am I doing with these miles/points? You betcha i will be planning my next travel destinations. I’ve already taken/planned some trips using these miles/points and it made the whole process the more rewarding. There are definitely costs involved in getting those credit cards (i.e. paying annual fees when they are not waived the 1st year, paying for gift card fees for manufactured spending in order to meet minimum spending requirement), but the potential travel benefit in my opinion out-weights the cost.
This is one of the reasons that gets me so excited about big travels with small money. I wanted to share my personal experience to let you know that an ordinary person can do it and it’s not rocket science. But please, do your research and be very mindful and responsible on your CC spending, pay your balance in full every month. If you’re paying interest then you shouldn’t be playing this game. Know your credit score and monitor it regularly. And if you’re applying for a mortgage in the near future, you may want to stay away from applying for CC’s as lenders may not want to see too many credit inquiries.
The following is a list of my go-to tools. I use them religiously:
Free credit score check:
My favorite points/miles bloggers:
Have fun exploring in your own credit card adventure! 🙂