For most people, credit cards are the best way to earn points and miles for free travel, especially with opening bonuses. However, applying for a new credit card can be a difficult process, even for those who have been collecting points for years. When you get deeper into the hobby, you’re likely to have a large amount of credit offered to you. This can cause issuers to sometimes hesitate when extending more credit to you.

In this video/post, we’re going to share our top ten tips and tricks to improve your chances when applying for new credit cards.

1. Understand your credit score and history:

It used to be pretty tough to get a hold of your credit score. Nowadays, it’s easier than ever. Most credit card issuers provide you access to your score. There are also free sites like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, and Quizzle, which provide free credit scores. Just keep in mind that most of these services are pulling from one of the three credit bureaus, so you may want to check all three. Lastly, you can request a full credit report every year from AnnualCreditReport.com, which includes data from all three major credit bureaus. I recommend reviewing your credit report every year. You’ll want to make sure that you don’t have any misreported accounts or discrepancies.

2. Search for the best available offer:

When applying for a specific card, make sure to do a google search to search for any better offers on the card. It’s common for issuers to have different bonus offers, depending on the landing page. It pays to “shop around” for the best offer.

3. Take a screenshot of your offer when applying:

To piggyback on the previous tip, make sure you take a screenshot of the bonus offer when applying. This can help if you don’t receive your offer and need to contact the issuer. It also helps you to remember the terms and conditions for the bonus. Most bonus offers will require you to spend a certain amount within a specific time period. Having a record of the terms ensures that there isn’t any confusion.

4. State your entire income:

This is an area where people often shortchange themselves. Make sure you report your total income from all sources. I know many of you have side hustles and gigs. Don’t hesitate to include the income that you receive from those sources in your total. I definitely advise against misrepresenting the information in any way. However, you just want to make sure that you’re presenting the big picture and improving your odds for an approval.

5. Apply for multiple cards at once:

This is a common trick used by the points community, and is sometimes referred to as an “app-o-rama” or AOR. If you are looking to apply for two or more cards at once, it is better to apply for the cards on the same day, preferably around the same time. The reason for doing this is because the issuers will not see the credit inquiry from the other issuers if you apply at the same time. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t use this trick to apply for multiple cards from the same issuer, as they will definitely see your multiple applications. But if you were to apply for a card from American Express and one from Capital One on the same day, it should work. Also, make sure your credit score is high as you will likely see a slight drop after the multiple credit inquiries are processed.

6. Be mindful of your application dates and credit inquiries:

The general recommendation is to wait at least 90 days between new credit card applications or “app-o-ramas”. Of course, there are other factors to consider, like Chase’s 5/24 and 2/30 rule.

7. Call the reconsideration line if you are not approved:

If you’re not immediately approved for a card, you may want to consider calling the issuer’s reconsideration line. Just be sure to be polite and respectful. When I call these lines, I usually say that I wanted to call in and see if there was any additional information needed to get my application approved. The only caveat is business cards. I would not call the reconsideration line until you get an actually denial as they often have a more comprehensive review and approval process.

8. Consider transferring your available credit:

I’ve found that issuers are sometimes reluctant to give you additional credit if you already have a lot of available credit with them. When speaking to a rep on the reconsideration line, you may want to consider offering to move some of your available credit to the new card, if they are willing to approve you. I’ve done this several times, and it seems to work really well. This is especially the case when I’ve had a premium card with an excessively high credit limit.

9. Consider downgrading cards or changing them to other products:

This tactic won’t allow you to get a bonus, but it can be useful when you want to get rid of a card with a high annual fee. Instead of simply canceling the card, you may want to downgrade or convert it to a free version of the card. An example would be converting a Chase Sapphire card to a Freedom card, or an American Express charge card to an Everyday card. This not only allows you to often retain your points, but also avoids any negative impact on the age of your accounts.

10. Don’t limit yourself to personal cards:

When looking at card offers available, don’t just limit yourself to personal cards. Many of you are eligible for business cards, even if you don’t have a full-blown business. Things like selling items online, performing a service, or consulting can make you eligible for a business credit card. Just make sure you are transparent about the income that you earn. You don’t need to have a huge income stream for them to approve you, and it’s better to be truthful and honest to avoid any audits.

Do you have any suggestions on improving your chances for getting approved? If so, please share them below in the comment section below.

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