Credit Card Churning | Why I Have 25+ Credit Cards
Hey there, it’s Mike Swigunski here and I’m the founder of global career and best-selling author of Global Career: How to Work Anywhere and Travel Forever.
Imagine owning 25 different credit cards? What type of crazy person would open 25 separate credit cards now? Today in this video, I’m going to walk you through why I’ve opened more than 25 different credit cards over the past ten years. Then I will talk about ten great things that I’ve learned from opening credit cards and how you can follow and learn from my experience of opening all these credit cards over time. You’re definitely going to want to stick around to the end because my last tip is going to be a game-changer. This tip alone has saved me thousands of dollars over the years, and you’re going to want to stick around and hear that. Now, let’s go ahead and dig into my top 10 tips from opening 25 different credit cards, so most of you out there are probably wondering why I would open 25 credit cards. The main reason is to earn travel hacking points and miles so that I could travel around the world for absolutely free, and I’m sure a lot of people are scared of credit cards. They don’t understand them, and I’m hoping that this video clears up a lot of those misconceptions.
So one of the first things I want to say is I currently have an 8 15 credit score I have zero dollars in debt, and again, opening up these credit cards slowly overtime over a period of 10 years has been a relatively safe thing to do if you understand how credit cards work and how to do things safely, and this brings me into my first tip which is it is not a race it’s a marathon if you’re learning about travel hacking for the first time or opening up credit cards to get free flights and free hotels again I want to preface that make sure you’re doing it slowly at first you’re walking before you run and again, this is something that you can sustainably do, at least through my travel hacking strategy. You can sustainably do for over ten years and beyond. Keep that in mind is anything around the credit card space, be very careful, and again, I want to preface that this video is not financial advice make sure you do your own research before opening any new credit card now number two that 95 of credit cards are no good now this was something that I first realized.
When I was 18, and I opened my first credit card, I went into a bank to open a debit card to open a savings account and a checking account, and essentially, they gave me a credit card which at the time they pitched it as if you ever overdraft on your card we’ll charge it to your credit card that way you have 30 days to make up the difference and this was my first experience with a credit card it was kind of cool at this 18-year-old stage because I had savings account with this local bank they were able to give me a credit card as well and this was kind of a big foundation to this day. I still have this card active because it’s one of my oldest credit cards there are no fees associated with it, and if I were to close this down, it would negatively impact my credit score one of the things that I would have done if I could go back ten years was to make sure that I was aware of that 95 of the credit cards out there are absolute garbage you really need to pick a select percentage that five percent of credit cards that are going to give you really good value really good perks and a lot of extra bonuses.
When you do sign up, meet the spending bonus, and are able to collect hundreds of thousands of free miles, by doing so, make sure you do at least a few weeks of research. I normally research a card at least one week before I open it up but sometimes a lot further than that number three is credit scores are important if you haven’t signed up for creditkarma.com I’ll leave a link below in the description this is a free tool, and it’s going to be a lifesaver for you more than half of America’s social security numbers were leaked there’s a lot of people out there that have your social security number so signing up for something like creditkarma.com is going to allow you to keep a free tracking on your accounts if somebody’s trying to open up a credit card in your name that isn’t you’ll get alerted about that also it really helps you track your credit score. It’ll show you exactly what’s impacting your credit score and what sort of changes you need to make to increase your credit score on that site. Hence, creditkarma.com is an absolutely great website. It’s free to use, and it’s a no-brainer to sign up for, so the big factors that will impact your credit score will be your payment history, age, and type of credit card, your credit utilization.
So how much credit you have available to you and what percentage of that you’re spending your balances your recent credit and available credit so there are a lot of factors that go into making up your credit score knowing all these factors and how to adjust and kind of play with the system is going to be extremely important to get above that 800 credit score so you can utilize creditkarma.com to find out all this information on what’s impacting your credit right now moving on to the next thing is always turn on autopay no matter when I open up a new credit card the first thing I do is I link it to my checking account I turn on autopay and that way, I am never missing any type of random fee. Let’s say you forgot that you had a recurring subscription on one of your credit cards. You’ll never forget to pay that off. This way, I’m able to utilize auto-pay to make sure that I’m always paying off my credit cards on time, and this has really positively impacted my credit score over a long period of time because I never miss a payment and a lot of times I’m actually paying two or three weeks before and that’s another pro trick to pay your staff on time.
But if you can pay it early, that’s even better moving on to my next tip is to treat credit cards like cash or as a debit card again I never spend money that I don’t have. I think that’s one of the core mindsets of being successful with credit cards over time and being able to open up 25 credit cards sustainably. This has been my kind of mantra for credit cards. Don’t spend money. You don’t have it’s as easy as that. Still, again maybe it’s easier said than done. Moving on to the number six tip is to make sure that you’re unlocking these amazing deals. I think this goes back to my first tip that not all credit cards are treated equally but make sure that you’re utilizing them. Before you open up a credit card, you understand what are all the perks and again if your card costs a hundred dollars a year or 500 a year. Still, you’re not getting at least two or three times that value out of the credit card. I would consider changing credit cards or putting that credit card on hold, and that moves me on to my next trip, which is never to cancel credit cards. Always look for a downgrade option. Canceling your credit cards can negatively impact your credit score.
Again this first example of that credit card I had when I opened when I was 18 the reason I haven’t canceled it has a really large portion of the credit available to me a long credit history, and if I were to cancel, that would be really negatively impacting my credit score, and number eight is to use the right tools I mentioned credit karma before another great tool is to use mint.com that’s a great website another great free tool to monitor your spending habits over time, and also again they give you some credit details and then lastly is just to use a spreadsheet after you’ve reached a certain level of credit cards I might become kind of hard to manage everything, so I utilize a spreadsheet to manage and keep track of all my credit cards and then lastly is another free tool called award wallet which will help you manage all of your miles in all the different accounts so if you’re collecting miles on American airlines or united award wallet will bring all those points into one easy to use dashboard, and the great thing I like about it is it’ll tell me if anything’s about to expire it’ll give me a notification about that, so number nine is to use a virtual mailbox.
I get a lot of questions from people who are wondering if I’m living overseas. How do I get open these credit cards since they sent them to my u.s address? Luckily, I have a family member that’s able to do this, but if you don’t have that family member that you trust, then I would open a virtual mailbox. Earth class mail is one of these examples where you can get your mail sent there. They’ll scan it. Then they’ll send that scan to you through their dashboard and through their secure online platform, so utilizing a virtual mailbox can save you a lot of time. It’s just a great service that you can use over time. Some of these services even cash checks if you do receive checks, so coming in at number 10, my last and final tip is to if you’re ever going to downgrade or cancel a card called the retention number and say, hey, I’m interested in canceling this credit card I’m just not getting enough use out of this a lot of times about eighty percent of the time.
They’re going to give you what is called a retention offer a lot of times. This will be to waive the yearly fees, so one example of this is my AMEX platinum card. They just charged me 550. I immediately called the retention line said, hey, I’m interested in closing this account. I’m just not getting enough value out of it with the state of the world with reason x y and z. Again they’ll check your account to see if you’re eligible for a retention offer. A lot of times, these people on the phone these operators have certain KPIs to hit, so if they’re canceling your card, they’re not going to be doing their job well and again, another pro tip on top of this is if you don’t like the first retention offer that they give you ask to see if there’s any retention offers available sometimes they have more than one and a lot of times I’ve rejected the first one. The second offer has been a lot better.
So you don’t have to make up your mind on the phone you can say let me think about it and call back, but for this example, with the AMEX, they completely waved my feet, and the two options they gave me were 550 refunds, or I think it was 20 000 points I chose to get the 550 back which I think in my mind was a great decision so these are my top 10 tips from opening more than 25 different credit cards over the last decade if you have some great tips I would love to hear them in the comments below and again if you’re interested in learning more about travel hacking, I’ll leave a link below to apply for my travel hacking master class, where you can learn my complete step-by-step strategy through a course of 40 different videos teaching you everything I know about travel hacking with credit cards and without credit cards that I’ve learned from visiting more than 85 different countries over the past decade so leave those details below and again if you made it this far please consider liking this video and subscribing and if you do subscribe, make sure you hit the bell notification icon to get alerted about the two new weekly videos I’m releasing take care and have a great rest of your day.
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