When Is the BEST Time to Get a New Credit Card?

One of the questions that beginner travel hackers ask the most is, “When is the best time to get a new credit card?” I really wish I had a magic ball that could foresee when a bonus is going to go higher so I could answer that question. Recently, I finally got under Chase 5/24. I was able to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. My joy was palpable. But a month after my approval, they offered it for 80,000 bonus points (Ultimate Rewards) instead of the usual 60,000 points. Bummer! I tried to get a bonus match because Chase is usually good about that.  Not this time though – it was a no-go! (I will ask again in a few weeks to see if they’ve softened). I usually send a secure message about it through my Chase account. You can also call them but I love just being able to do it online, plus then you have a record.

If I’d had that magic ball I would have waited another month. Oh well, I’m happy with my bonus. I was able to refer my husband for the card so I got extra points for that anyway!

Yes, at times we will be disappointed that we miss out on an all-time high bonus offer.  We have to be grateful we get as much free travel as we do! That is why it is important to take advantage of the high bonus offers when they are available! Here are some current ones:

You can read more about some of these cards here. If you are interested in any, don’t delay in applying.

Making Big Purchases

A great time to apply for a new card is before you have a big purchase coming up. My husband needed new tires on his truck and wanted a cover for the truck bed so we made sure to get a new credit card for him so we could have a huge start on making his minimum spend.

My sister has some major dental expenses coming up so she is opening up the American Express Green Card for herself, referring her husband, and getting him the same card. She will have over 100,000 Membership Rewards for a purchase she has to make anyway! We plan to travel to several locations in Europe next year so she will almost have a roundtrip business trip just for putting those expenses on a new credit card! This is what travel hacking is all about. You earn miles for free travel while making everyday purchases you have to make. This is the best time to get a credit card (or two) for my sister!

View of a tire on a vehicle
Get a new credit card before you buy new tires!

Growing A Stockpile

We are huge proponents of having a stockpile of points. That way, when you feel like traveling, you go for it. Remember last year when Alex and I were sick of the snow and went to Maui? In this instance, the best time to get a new card is when you are close to meeting the minimum spend on a card. We are almost always getting new cards and growing our stockpiles. Here’s a peek at my current stockpile (remember these are my husband and mine’s and hotels, airline, and transferable points):

Screenshot of award points

Remember, four years ago, I was a beginner too. The secret is to keep applying, keep learning. Here is a summary of some of the places I’ve been able to travel to with points. With our help, you too can grow a hefty stockpile of points/miles!

Saving For a Dream Trip

Another time to apply for a new card is when you first start planning your own dream trip. Where do you want to go? What credit cards do you need to make that trip happen? How can you save money with points/miles? We are here to help you. We are happy to do a “live” consultation that we will post on our blog so others can learn. Just reach out to pam@travelhackingmom.com for more information.

Make that dream trip happen with points/miles!

Bottom Line

Don’t hesitate to apply when you see a high offer for a credit card that you are interested in. Don’t try to second guess when that best time to get a credit card occurs. We get some high offers, we get some lower offers. Rest assured, we will let you know when a good offer comes up and you can also reach out to use about an offer you see and we can let you know if it is a good offer. But honestly, we are just so lucky that we get any offers and are able to save so much on travel because we travel hack!

When to sign up for a new credit card
Credit cards and $50 in wallet

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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this site is not provided by credit card issuer. All opinions, reviews, and recommendations are expressed by the author, not the credit card issuer.